Va. Alcoholic Bev. Control Auth. v. Bd. of Sup’rs of Fairfax Cty. (U)

By granting a farm winery license over the objection of the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board exceeded its authority, as the circuit court correctly held.

The 2016 amendments to Code § 4.1-100 excluded farm wineries from the permitted agricultural use in the R-C district. But in the enactment clause, the General Assembly provided an exception for applications pending before July 1, 2016, which could result in a license only if otherwise permitted by the locality. Thus, the enactment clause gives the locality, not the ABC Board, authority to determine if a pending farm winery – like the one seeking a license here – is permitted on land zoned R-C.

The ABC Board also lacked authority to adjudicate the reasonableness of a zoning ordinance requiring a five-acre lot. The grandfathering exception that allowed the landowner to build his residence on 1.86 acres does not also allow him to use his property without constraint.

The court properly determined that the ABC Board exceeded its authority in granting a license to an applicant who received an adverse zoning determination, but never appealed.


Va. Alcoholic Bev. Control Auth. v. Bd. of Sup’rs of Fairfax Cty. (U), No. 0265-18-4, Nov. 6, 2018. CAV (O’Brien) from Fairfax (Carroll).

Categories: Court of Appeals of Virginia, Opinions, Unpublished

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