A hearing involving the approved Crescere agri-resort has been pushed several weeks due to a scheduling issue.
Last week, attorneys for the Madison County Board of Supervisors and William and Christina Rother appeared in court for a hearing regarding the case which focuses on an approved special use permit (SUP) to allow the creation of a rural resort or event venue on a 762 acre property off Rt. 231 in Uno. The property, formerly known as Ken-Walt Farm and renamed Crescere, is owned by Orange resident Barbara Miller via Crystallis, LLC. Miller’s SUP covers seven parcels with a total of approximately 749.3 acres and consists of a variety of buildings including a spa, welcome center, restaurant and cottages, plus glamping and camping sites. The county approved the SUP in August 2020. In response, neighboring property owners William and Christina Rother filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgement against the supervisors, Crystallis, LLC, and Crescere Resort in early September 2020. The complaint seeks to make the SUP invalid with the Rothers alleging the approval was improper and violates both the zoning ordinance and Virginia Code. They say the use isn’t in harmony with the intent of the zoning district and would adversely affect the use of the neighboring property. They also say they will be negatively impacted and harmed by the development of the resort with their use and quiet enjoyment of their property impaired.
In October, the supervisors filed a response stating the complaint was insufficient. Attorneys Jennifer Royer and Sean Gregg say the Rothers fail to state sufficient facts to demonstrate they have or will suffer damage that is different from that suffered by the public at large, that they have any immediate interest in the subject matter of the SUP or that the board has denied them any personal or property right by granting the SUP. The attorneys also state that the Rothers fail to allege any antagonistic actions between them and the board and their professed harms “are merely speculative, conjectural or hypothetical” and not real or immediate. They state the claim is based entirely upon the Rothers’ disagreement with the board’s decision and a mere disagreement with government, coupled with the possibility of future difficulties, is not sufficient to involve the remedy of declaratory judgement. Because of these reasons, the attorneys state that the complaint must be dismissed. There’s also the issue that the Rothers lack standing since the property they state will be harmed is owned by an LLC, not the Rother’s personally. And, there are two properties between Belle Mont and Crescere—one of which is 35.439 acres and another that is 364.468 acres.
Those arguments, which make up the county’s plea in bar and demurrer in the case, were supposed to be heard last Wednesday afternoon. However, the court’s morning docket ran hours late, forcing the need to reschedule. Now, the arguments will be heard June 30.
Meanwhile, Christina Rother has filed a nonsuit removing herself from the case. William Rother is now the sole plaintiff. According to court records, he is also the sole owner of Belle Mont Farm, LLC, a claim attorney Roy Shannon pointed out in filed responses to the demurrer and plea in bar explaining why he has standing to make the complaint. Shannon also stated that Rother would be harmed by the development of the resort via diminished property values and the harms are not shared by the general public since they do not live in the same neighborhood as the development. Shannon states that the violations of the zoning ordinance and Virginia Code have been properly pled and will be established at trial. He asks that the demurrer and plea in bar be overruled.
Both will be heard in Madison County Circuit Court June 30 at 1:30 p.m.