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Fairfax County Continues Efforts To Block Clifton Winery

Last December, I noted that one property owner’s efforts to establish Fairfax County’s first operating winery were being blocked by Fairfax County zoning officials and neighbors. Ultimately, the zoning issues were resolved and the project was allowed to proceed forward.

Now, it seems like Fairfax County is once again moving to block the winery, now called Paradise Springs Winery, from ever opening it’s doors:

Paradise Springs Winery began as the project of a mother and son searching for ways to pay inheritance taxes on a historic farm. Its owners expect to hear any day whether the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will grant them a license to make and sell wine in Clifton, a corner of southern Fairfax filled with horse farms and sprawling five-acre lots. But even if the state grants a license, the county is likely to fight the winery, arguing that it is more of a factory than a farm and therefore inconsistent with zoning laws.

Besides rehashing frictions that exist between Richmond and Northern Virginia, the conflict demonstrates the tensions that have grown between local governments and increasingly powerful winemakers and their friends in the General Assembly

(…)

If the ABC grants Paradise Springs a license, Wynn said, the county will probably sue to stop it. And then a court might have to decide a fight over what supporters say would be a novel way to preserve open space and boost tourism and what detractors say would be a menace to neighbors’ peace of mind and motorists on its winding rural roads.

Which is just absurd considering the fact that most of Virginia’s wineries exist in exactly those types of settings and get along quite well with their neighbors, and something tells me they’d like it a lot better than what’s likely to come if the project get scuttled:

Frustrated by the county’s stance, Kirk Wiles, 27, a financial analyst for a government contractor, said it might have been easier to cut up the land into five-acre plots for McMansions. They have already spent $50,000 on legal fees, he said.

“I just think it’s so ridiculous,” he said. “It’s either going to be a winery or it’s going to have to be subdivided into lots. It’s all or nothing.”

The most absurd thing about this is that they’ve had to spend money on legal fees to get permission from the state to do what they want with their property.

Something is truly wrong in this country.

2 Responses to “Fairfax County Continues Efforts To Block Clifton Winery”

  1. Scandia says:

    This is unbelievable – Well, not quite. Fairfax county is – I don’t know what word to use. A winery usually is a beautiful place. Sure bets McMansions any day!

  2. Kevin D. says:

    I have been following the conflict about Land Use regarding the Paradise Springs Winery in Fairfax County. As a lifelong resident, I support commerce for our County. I have seen very positive growth over the 52 years of my life here, and applaud the continuation to promote, drive and endorse commerce. Having a winery in Fairfax County is not posing a threat to our safety nor are the ensuing noise levels going to be any greater than the flight path of Dulles Airport and the Railroad over and in Clifton. For goodness sakes, give me a break. I live moments from Dulles and enjoy the convenience of being so close to one our country’s greatest airports.

    The ludicrous argument that people get drunk at wineries would then have the same application as at a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol. Did you or your colleagues block the rebuilding and renovation of Trummers in Clifton? I think not. Does Clifton Day serve alcohol during its weekend event – I think so. What about the winery and bar that has been added to the adjoining area of the Clifton General Store – do you think people get a buzz and maybe over indulge at these places. Of course they do. And why would the town of Clifton endorse and celebrate an annual wine festival if there was such great risk of alcohol abuse and traffic problems?

    Why have these businesses been considered good for Clifton but a winery isn’t? Because it is nothing more than a self-centered narrow minded viewpoint that is consistent with the age old adage of NIMB – not in my back yard. I find it ironic that the Mayor of Clifton supports the winery.

    It is most unfortunate that a few loud mouthed self-serving residents try to disrupt the opportunity for Fairfax County to have a winery that serves the interests of many more than just a few homeowners in Clifton. Perhaps if they didn’t have their heads in the sand they would see the merits of the economic insurgence and relief businesses provide to our area.

    I strongly support the Paradise Winery and respectfully ask for your support in granting the requisite licenses to the owners to have a chance to build a business – just like any other business owner or entrepreneur in our great County.

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