Outdoors Foundation’s Offer Could End Farmer’s Dispute With Green Group Over Property Rights


RICHMOND – Martha Boneta’s eight-year battle with an environmental group over a conservation easement on her farm in Virginia’s Hunt Country moved closer to resolution yesterday as another organization agreed to take over enforcement activities.

Boneta and representatives of the Piedmont Environmental Council appeared at a meeting of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s board of trustees in the Virginia General Assembly building here. The foundation is a co-holder of the easement on Boneta’s farm.

Each side made 20-minute presentations about the easement on Boneta’s property and what she has called abuses on the part of the environmental council in its enforcement of the terms.

Easements are agreements landowners enter into with conservation organizations such as the Piedmont Environmental Council. The property owners receive cash or tax breaks for agreeing to limits on development. Boneta did not receive tax breaks because the easement was attached when she bought the farm.

After the presentations, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s seven-member board voted 6-0 to adopt a resolution expressing its willingness to take over enforcement activities.

Boneta, who has accused the Piedmont Environmental Council of colluding with government officials and realtors to force her off her property, said the resolution “gives me hope for the …read more