B Chord Brewery License Struck Down

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has decided against licensing B Chord Brewing Company, stopping short owner Marty Dougherty’s plans for a farm brewery on Foggy Bottom Road near Bluemont.

Neighbors of the would-be brewery have been vehemently opposed to the project, arguing that the operation would bring heavy traffic to their rural roads and disrupt their neighborhood.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board agreed with B Chord’s critics that “the operation of a licensed limited brewery at that location would substantially interfere with the usual quietude and tranquility of a residence or residential area,” overturning a hearing officer’s earlier recommendation to grant the license.

“In the present case, the Board cannot ignore the will of the citizens and residents of the community where the applicant is located,” wrote the board in a decision signed by Chairman Jeffrey L. Painter. “The testimony and evidence presented by the community members, especially that of the nearby residents, is sufficient to give the Board reasonable cause to believe that the operation of a limited brewery by the applicant would interfere with the usual quietude and tranquility of the residents nearby.”

B Chord Brewing Company has faced objections at the local and state level at every step of the process, including most recently the appeal of the hearing examiner’s decision.

“The objectors have managed to hassle us from the beginning—their efforts to put an end to our farm brewery was based on a false, misleading and slanderous campaign that included newspaper ads, postcards and door to door canvasing,” the company posted on its Facebook page. “We are evaluating ALL of our legal options, including appealing this decision.”

Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Howard said he wonders how consistent the ruling is with the state legislation that originally enabled farm breweries in agricultural areas.

“The best way to keep land in agricultural use is to make it economically viable for the owner to do so, because otherwise the alternative is, it could turn into more residential housing,” Howard said. The Chamber lobbied the General Assembly for the state law protecting farm breweries, and Howard said there are more questions than answers about the ABC’s decision on B Chord at the moment.

“Equestrian facilities that are commercial in nature aren’t considered inconsistent with that, community-supported agriculture and you-pick farms are not considered inconsistent with the quietude and tranquility of the area, so why the special treatment for farm breweries?” Howard said.

Those objectors are represented by attorney and General Assembly Delegate David Albo (R-42), who represents part of Fairfax.

B Chord Brewing Company owner Marty Dougherty has not yet responded to a request for comment.

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

10 thoughts on “B Chord Brewery License Struck Down

  • 2016-06-06 at 1:25 pm
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    just to clarify a few things- We have received good support from the County and from various organizations at the state level. In fact, the support from Loudoun ED has been terrific. This fight has always been with a handful of neighbors who simply don’t want my brewery located next to them. There was never an option to compromise or work it out with them. Also, just wanted to include a portion of the decision for your reads to see and I have pasted it below:
    “In the present case, the Board cannot ignore the will of the citizens and residents of the community where the applicant is located. The testimony and evidence presented by the community members, especially that of the nearby residents, is sufficient to give the Board reasonable cause to believe that the operation of a limited brewery by the applicant would interfere with the usual quietude and tranquility of the residents nearby.
    Specifically, Ms. Jean Baderschneider provided testimony regarding a few times when gatherings at the place to be licensed caused her to move her horses due to noise levels, effectively interfering with the use and enjoyment of her residential property. Though the applicant does not intend to interfere with the usual quietude and tranquility of his neighbors, his operation nonetheless does just this, and operation under a license has not even begun. This gives the Board reason to believe that a fully operational limited brewery would cause increased interference”. Now keep in mind that we don’t have an operation yet, the farm is unoccupied except for cows and hops.

  • 2016-06-06 at 3:16 pm
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    So let me get this straight. If you have money and a few horses in Loudoun County, you can

    1) Bar your neighbors from using their property for a valid, authorized use

    2) Prevent you or your workers from being prosecuted for animal abuse

    3) Get the newspapers from reporting on you

    And we wonder why Trump has such support when the rich are making such a mockery of the democratic system.

  • 2016-06-06 at 4:36 pm
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    It was the will of 108 objectors and Board had it exactly right.This was a decision based on the voice of the people – the citizens in the area to quote the actual ABC Board:-

  • 2016-06-06 at 4:51 pm
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    Allow me to put the record straight here:-

    1). 108 objections is NOT one neighbor – it is the voice of a community – yes citizens have rights to protect their health, safety, welfare and property values.

    2). There are regulations to be met for the use. The ABC rules are very clear anyone who applies for permit knows exactly what they are. The ABC made a decision. The decision was based on the voice of the people – the citizens in the area to quote the actual ABC Board:-

    “In the present case the Board cannot ignore the will of the citizens and residents of the community where the applicant is located”.

    3) This is what is called “community activisum”. The people as a GROUP wanted to protect the rural nature of the neighborhood where they live with their families. They have lived there with their families, farms, long before the applicant decided to purchase that land.

    4) One has a constitutional right to peace and good order, tranquility and quietude. Therefore, this community GROUP decided it worth saving the value of their farms …. So that’s a crime?

    5) it’s very interesting that when the applicant one the first hearing at the ABC the community contained its dignity and did not find a need to write inaccurate posts for a PR machine.

    6) So let’s be clear and accurate here shall we?

  • 2016-06-06 at 7:34 pm
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    “One has a constitutional right to peace and good order, tranquility and quietude.”

    Could you cite where that is in either the U.S. Constitution or the Virginia Constitution?

  • 2016-06-06 at 7:39 pm
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    I live down the street from B Chord and what the objectors mentioned here is not true. There are a lot of people like me who support the brewery but we have never been asked our opinion. The brewery does not have a building and it would be impossible for the brewery to already be causing a problem for anyone, nobody even lives there. I received the post card that was mailed without a return name and a PO box address that said the brewery would ruin Loudoun and drain all of the wells asking me to mail a letter to ABC. This is really not right. B Chord is being portrayed by these people as a burden, even though there are many supporters for the brewery.

  • 2016-06-06 at 8:26 pm
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    Dear JEvans – aren’t you the one who took out a full page ad and sent out around 4,500 post cards to solicit support? Wasn’t it around 78 objectors? And didn’t B Chord submit a similar # of letters of support?

    Dear Will – You need spell check.

  • 2016-06-06 at 9:03 pm
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    This has been an unbelievable attack on ONE property owner and his right to launch his small business, a farm brewery on his 26 acre farm. Where were all these people through all the democratic processes that put the laws in Virginia and Loudoun County on the books to allow for farm breweries? I have lived in this community for many years and am appalled at the unfriendliness of the neighbors in this case. Ironically, Dougherty has been here for about 20 years; much longer than many of his objectors. Dougherty and his wife have raised 4 children in this community. He and his family love their community and the peace and tranquility it offers as much as any one of the objectors. And embarrassingly to me, as a member of our beautiful community, there was zero concern for putting Dougherty and his family at risk for losing their livelihood. What kind of neighbors are these? From what I understand, not one of these folks ever approached Dougherty to understand his plan that was made possible and legal by our local and state government process, before their slanderous campaign was underway. The fact the opposition sent out 5,500 post cards, took out a full page newspaper ad, spoke publicly, and went door to door to our homes!! in an effort to paint Dougherty’s business plan as something akin to animal house is OUTRAGEOUS. Dougherty has spent the better part of the past two decades serving his community by bringing them high speed wireless internet, beginning back in the day when dial-up and satellite were the only options in western Loudoun. Dougherty has been an active member in his community and has only sought to improve the the community, not destroy it. As an example, Dougherty brought fiber broadband internet to Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors. I believe he arranged for over $100,000 of donated services, from contractors like LEO Construction, in an effort to connect each building at the Retreat to fiber broadband. Dougherty also made it possible for Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors to receive free broadband internet FOREVER. Does this sound like a guy not willing to work with his community or that does not have an interest in preserving the beauty, peace and tranquility of his community? The decision upon appeal to overturn the initial abc hearing decision to grant Dougherty his license, reeks of politics as the opposition sought new counsel for the appeal. That new counsel was Commonwealth Delegate David Albo. Google him to see his work with various legislative committees dealing with ABC to understand the incredible conflict of interest this is in Dougherty’s case. Shame on you!! the opposition for behaving as if you were on a witch hunt with no regard for your neighbor and his family. It’s been all about your way of life which, by the way, can not stay static. Life is dynamic..it will change…our landscape is changing before our eyes…but personally I would prefer a farm brewery over a housing development. And let’s ask one more question…if Dougherty has no operation on the property as of yet and no home, how is it he has been able to cause such disturbance to ONE neighbor with nothing more than cows and hops that have caused her to move her horses? Those are some super sensitive horses…maybe they need a horse whisperer…I think I might know one!
    Oh and how do you win an appeal on hearsay? I say dirty politics!

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 2016-06-06 at 10:56 pm
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    I’m pretty sure all of us who live in Western Loudoun would like to preserve the rural feel of our little patch of paradise. Ironically, the handful of detractors attempting to block responsible agribusiness like B Chord are hastening the process of Western Loudoun becoming Eastern Loudoun. Their position of “not in my backyard” within a decade will assure that the problem is in every backyard. A little more traffic on all of our roads is a small price to pay for preserving the rural beauty of Western Loudoun.

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