YORKTOWN -- A large crowd of people held a pre-hearing demonstration outside York Hall Wednesday night. They were concerned about potential rezoning that could affect farming opportunities in York County, including oyster farming, and gathered before a planning commission public hearing.
"I mean, this is Yorktown, Virginia. This is where Cornwallis surrendered. The tyrants surrender here. The people do not," said Greg Garrett, who farms oysters. "There are a bunch of different options, but one of the options is to completely remove it, and even to remove it somewhere where they currently have the right to grow agriculture where no harm is being done is absurd and unacceptable."
"It would shut down our, what we find peace and happiness in," said Mike Yarkey.
He and his wife, Tara, bought their property where they raise chickens, turkeys, goats, and horses so that they could have livestock.
"We should be able to raise our own food, and we even should be able to sell it, you know. That's something that we believe in," said Tara Yarkey. "A lot of people are moving in that direction and want to have a source for local, you know, organic, clean, ethically raised food."
During the hearing, people supporting the rezoning stated the main goal was to prevent commercial agriculture ventures from encroaching on residential properties, specifically, in York Point.
One speaker stated there was no way to apply reasonable setbacks that abate noise, smell, and visual nuisances, while someone else pointed out she was in favor of individual rights, but it should include the individual rights of all homeowners.
"This is a liberty issue. That's how I see it," said Delegate Brenda Pogge, who represents many York County residents in the Virginia General Assembly.
"We see these issues all the time, not just in York County, that there is a trend for overreach of local government," Pogge told 13News Now. "The General Assembly has passed several bills this year to try to push back on the overreach of local government."
The planning commission is to make its recommendation on the proposed rezoning to the York County Board of Supervisors no later than June 30.