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Ignoring farmers, City Council approves event venue on land zoned for agriculture in rural city

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE OCEANFRONT — Moments after a stunning reversal by the Planning Commission, the City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 25, voted to approve a conditional use permit so an event business can operate on land zoned for agriculture in… Continue Reading

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Column: City decisions about land use have real consequences for farms and rural communities

BY KAREN BEARDSLEE KWASNY VIRGINIA BEACH — Weather wreaks havoc on farmland?   So, too, do city decisions.   It’s a bit overwhelming — the myriad articles about the way our ever-changing climate affects our farmland.   A quick look at… Continue Reading

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Column: We should have fought the Wolfe Bros permit harder, but keep fighting

BY JARED BRANDWEIN BACK BAY — An editorial in the pages on The Independent News warned us all that we needed to show up at the Tuesday, Aug. 25, City Council meeting to be heard on a proposal to use land… Continue Reading

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Editorial: Virginia Beach City Council betrayed farmers and its own land use ideals — for tourism

Ed. — From the Sunday, Sept. 6, print edition. THE INDEPENDENT NEWS BACK BAY — False steps large and small by Virginia Beach’s government and people who advise it led to the City Council decision this past month to permit Wolfe… Continue Reading

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Column: We must preserve farmland and rural communities

  BY KAREN BEARDSLEE KWASNY VIRGINIA BEACH — In 2002, when my husband and I were looking for a new house, a friend said to me, “You need to live in Pungo, Karen. That place will feel like home to you.” … Continue Reading

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Editorial: Rural residents should speak because a commercial venue is proposed for agricultural land

THE INDEPENDENT NEWS BACK BAY — A pending conditional use permit request deserves attention before the Virginia Beach City Council makes a decision that could have consequences for rural communities. The City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 25, is scheduled to consider a… Continue Reading

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Planning Commission recommends denial of proposed event venue on farmland in rural Virginia Beach

Ed. — This story originally appeared in the Sunday, July 5, print edition. It has been updated to include the date upon which the City Council is scheduled to consider the proposal. Additionally, it now appears unlikely the City Council will… Continue Reading

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Pungo: Harvest Farms, major project proposed for rural gateway, deferred indefinitely over stormwater plans

Ed. — This story first appeared in print on Friday, April 26. It was archived on Thursday, May 30. BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE PUNGO – A commercial and residential development project that would have changed the face of “downtown” Pungo, the… Continue Reading

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Farmer Barnes to join Virginia Beach Planning Commission for Princess Anne District

Ed. — This story was archived online on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. It originally ran in the Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, print edition. BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Farmer Steve Barnes in January will replace Dr. Karen Beardslee Kwasny as the… Continue Reading

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After election, Barnes to join Virginia Beach Planning Commission for Princess Anne District

Ed. — This originally ran in print on Dec. 7, 2018. BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Farmer Steve Barnes in January will replace Dr. Karen Beardslee Kwasny as the Princess Anne District representative to the Virginia Beach Planning Commission. The City… Continue Reading