Ebony is located in southern Brunswick County, VA - en route to Lake Gaston from I-85
Keep Ebony Country is a grassroots effort and campaign to preserve the historic integrity and authentic non-commercialized character of the Ebony, VA community. We mobilized in 2019 to oppose rezoning a carveout of agricultural land (A-1) to B-1 (business) to support bringing a Dollar General to the heart of Ebony's historic center. Business pursuits in A-1 communities are supposed to be handled with a Conditional Use Permit to prevent over-commercialization and harmful side effects to the people, other compatible businesses, and character of the community.
Our momentum comes from a shared commitment from the local community as well as a generosity of time, talent, and financial contributions.
Despite overwhelming public opposition to rezoning and Dollar General and laying out legal-based arguments in public hearings that support opposition , 3 of the 5 members of the Board of Supervisors voted 1/29/20 to pass a rezoning request that would allow Dollar General into the area. They voted in opposition to the home district Supervisor who voted to deny the rezoning request.
After taking some time to reflect and consider our options, a decision was made to proceed with an Appeal of the Board's rezoning decision -- because of the merits of our case, what is at stake, and on behalf of all who stood up in opposition.
The initial Appeal was filed with the Brunswick County Circuit Court on 2/28/20. Having standing and limiting the parties for simplification, Plaintiffs/Petitioners on the appeal are the adjacent property owners: Anne Edwards Hartley and Prospect Cemetery Association.
Rather than proceding to trial the County pursued a Demurrer -- a path to have the case dismissed. The County was not successful after spending over $100,000 on the Demurrer. We thought we were on the path to trial with a pre-trial scheduling hearing set for June 3, 2022. The County redirected that trial to a Summary Judgment hearing to avoid trial. The Judge obliged and ultimately ruled in favor of the County, largely ignoring our claims that survived the demurrer.
The claims in the Appeal that survived Demurrer and will serve as the legal basis for trial are that the vote disregarded existing land-use management governance tools including VA Statutes designed to protect rural residential/farming communities like Ebony from detrimental over-commercialization.
End of August 2022: We are now Appealing to the Virginia Court of Appeals, the Judge's decision on the Summary Judgement that deprives us of a trial which we were granted by a different judge who ruled on the Demurrer.
December 18, 2022: The first deliverable of the appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals was filed: Assignment of Errors.
January 10, 2023: The second deliverable of the appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals was filed: Initial Brief.
March 1, 2023: Began 4th year of litigation.
March 31, 2023: Filed request to Virginia Court of Appeals to motion the Supreme Court of Virginia to take the case and rule on whether Comprehensive Plans and Statutes matter - to clear it up for all of the Commonwealth.
April 24, 2023: Sent 5th settlement proposal to the Board of Supervisors building upon VA Dept of Historic Resources assessment that Ebony is eligible for Historic District distinction and Dr. Florine Bell's powerful message at the BOS meeting on 4/19/23.
Please Note: We are not a 501(c)(3) organization. That said, all donations and expenditures will be processed through a stand-alone bank account with transparent reporting available as requested. After donating, you will receive a receipt for your contribution. Identity of anonymous donors will be masked from reports.
The petition to Appeal the decision to approve rezoning, was filed 2/28/20 and still active. There is no better way to add your support to this cause than a financial donation to the legal fund.
Thank you to those who have already donated over the course of three years in the amount of $20,000. These funds went toward preparing the appeal (2020), opposing the Demurrer (2021), and opposition to Summary Judgment (2022).
The attorney and legal research analyst are working with us to keep out-of-pocket expenses as low as possible, along with our team's ability to contribute in ways to reduce billable hours. Our expenditures are a small portion of what the County is spending to defend their position.
CURRENT CAMPAIGN: We are focused on funding to cover residual 2022 expenses through Summary Judgment and the legal research and creation of filings for the appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals. This campaign target is $10000. Your donation in any amount will make a difference!
Please mail a check payable to "Keep Ebony Country Fund" to:
Keep Ebony Country
c/o Kay Whitehead
PO Box 36
Ebony, VA 23845
If you would like to make an anonymous donation, add a note to your check.
In response to those who have requested an electronic method instead of check, Anne can facilitate. Zelle or Venmo to Anne Hartley 919-602-5012. Upon receipt, she will deposit in the Keep Ebony Country fund managed by Kay Whitehead in your name. Please indicate "Keep Ebony Country Fund" on your transaction or something that distinguishes it as such.
Thank you very much.