York County man fights to keep oyster farm

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by Philip Townsend, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 5:46 PM

YORK COUNTY -- Greg Garrett's Dandy property in York County -- zoned rural-residential -- is currently off-limits to oyster harvesting and he wants that to change.

He farmed for oysters outside of his house for years until the county recently cracked down and told him he needed a special use permit to continue.

The Virginia Supreme Court even sided with the county Board of Supervisors after a lengthy lawsuit worked its way through the legal system.

"It's something they've never required for oyster farming in the county's 400 year history," said Garrett.

Since the recent provisions, Garrett has continued to farm. He found a way around it by farming only on the water, which is perfectly legal in the state.

His boats are even tied to PVC pipes so it's not considered his property, even though it's right next to his dock.

Neighbor C.T. Tiller says trucks are constantly driving back and forth and the noise from pressure washers is becoming unbearable.

"Anyone in their right mind would object to this type of activity next door," Tiller said.

York County is proposing a major down-zoning that would likely include Garrett's property and would mean he couldn't farm at all.

The only way to get back to how he used to harvest would be through a special use permit and he's not optimistic the county would approve it.

"It's something that should be promoted," Garrett said. "It's not something people who own oyster farms should be attacked for."

The planning commission will meet to discuss the changes Wednesday night.
 

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