Government Is Your Oyster

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Oyster farming helps purify the Chesapeake Bay.

The federal government considers aqua-farming agriculture.

The state of Virginia considers aqua-farming agriculture.

Agriculture and livestock are protected uses by zoning right on Greg Garrett’s property.

Greg Garrett got seven state permits and licenses.

And yet the York County zoning czar decided Greg Garrett needed a special use permit to farm oysters on his own property.

The zoning ordinance declares that anything not explicitly stated in their zoning ordinance is not permitted. The zoning administrator has complete power and control over what each individual can and cannot do on their property.

This is a case where more rules doesn’t make sense. How about this simple rule: If it isn’t doing any harm to his neighbors he ought to be free to do it.

Or put more simply, “Live and let live.”

Government regulations and compliance do not make us safer.

Photo by Farrukh used here under Flickr Creative Commons.

“I would rather be an oyster than a county regulator, the most stupid and senseless of animals.” – Apologies to George Berkeley.

Post Script: Fortunately Greg Garrett took the time and expense to fight and win in court. The county can appeal.

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David John Marotta is the Founder and President of Marotta Wealth Management. He played for the State Department chess team at age 11, graduated from Stanford, taught Computer and Information Science, and still loves math and strategy games. In addition to his financial writing, David is a co-author of The Haunting of Bob Cratchit.