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The Fight Goes on for Crooked Run Orchard

July 1, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Development, News, Our Towns No Comments

By Kelli Grim

Sam and Uta Brown have confirmed they recently finalized the real estate closing on the two parcels that had been jointly owned by Sam and his brother Tim Brown. The entire property is made up of three parcels equal to approximately 100 acres, and two of them were a part of the recent partition lawsuit between Sam and Tim Brown that was set to go to auction in June 2011.

Sam and Uta Brown have just purchased the two parcels from Sam’s brother Tim Brown, and now are the sole owners of the nearly 100 acre Crooked Run Orchard. The farm has been in the Brown family for over 250 years when Sam’s ancestor, Mahlon Kirkbride purchased it from Lord Fairfax in 1741. It has been continuously farmed by the Brown family, is a VA designated Century Farm, and currently operates as a “Pick Your Own” that is open to the public.

The Brown’s are determined to continue their efforts to “Preserve and Protect” their unique historic property which does not have any asphalt or concrete on it. It has been difficult for them to spend tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees just to defend their home and business. They realize this is a great undertaking, and will now face even greater hardships since the Town of Purcellville recently took by “Quick Take” condemnation seven acres of the sixteen-acre parcel to build a southern by-pass road less than twenty feet from their 100+ year old home.

The Town is preparing to fence off the entire seven acres which will destroy nearly a hundred mature fruit trees, cut off their access road to the back forty five acres of the farm, cutting the farm in two, eliminating 20 percent of their customer parking area, and keep them from using their barn that stores their farm equipment, business supplies, and other items.

In a letter dated June 14, 2011 to Sam Brown, the Town Manager stated, “Over the next several weeks, we will be installing entrances to the property and potential fencing along the property line for the benefit of both parties. This will also clearly delineate the property lines so that we do not have visitors to your farm accidentally wandering onto the Town property where we will be completing preconstruction activities”.

It was only one month ago that the Browns were presented with a Lease that would require them to be responsible for all roll back taxes on the seven acres when it comes out of farm use, along with carrying two times the amount of insurance other companies that use Town properties are required to carry, along with the demand for a $5,000 deposit to be held until the road is completed. The demands in the lease were so arbitrary and cost prohibitive, the Brown’s will now lose all use of the property and barn.

For more facts, details, photos, and videos you can visit their website at www.CrookedRunOrchard.com. They have a legal defense fund set up on their site where donations can be made to help them fight this Eminent Domain abuse.

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