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Edward Hale, et al. v. Board of Zoning Appeals for the Town of Blacksburg, et al.

From the circuit court of montgomery county.

Virginia's Stance on Third-Party Challenges to Local Land Use Decisions
By Philip Carter Strother Environmental Law Reporter

Philip Strother thanks Matthew Farley, a 2010 J.D. candidate at the University of Richmond School of Law, for assistance in researching, drafting, and editing.

Wine Tasting Activities in Virginia: Is America's First Wine Producing State Destined to Wither on the Vine Due to Overregulation?
By Philip Carter Strother and Robert Jackson Allen

Thomas M. Cooley Law Review
Volume 23
Number 2
Trinity Term 2006

Proposed Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia.

Strother Law Offices has submitted a public comment to the Proposed Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia. Through Monday, June 30, 2008, members of the public can comment to these proposed regulations at the following website:


Information about the regulatory revision process, as well as a copy of the proposed regulations, is available at:


We urge all individuals interested in the welfare of children with special needs to review the proposed changes, as well as the numerous comments that have been made about them. These revisions include crucial implications for the role of parents in their children's education, the identification of children with disabilities, the specifics of due process hearings, and other significant changes. Add your voice to support the rights of children with disabilities.

The public comment submitted by Strother Law Offices can be found here.

A Vintner's Intellectual Property: Protecting the Future of a Winery's Label Through Trademarking - Virginia Wine Gazette - Spring 2007
by Philip Carter Strother and Charles R. Samuels

Click here to download PDF

Will The General Assembly Unlock the Jeffersonian Dream for Virginia To Become A Leader in the American Wine Industry? - Official Virginia Wine Lover - February 2007 Newsletter
by Philip Carter Strother & Robert Jackson Allen*

For nearly 400 years, Virginia has been recognized as having an ideal climate and environment for viticulture. In 1608, Virginia became North America's first wine producing state. However, despite the best efforts of the colonists and founding fathers, the industry did not attain significant success until recently.

Virginia is now home to over one hundred wineries, poised with the potential for more growth. In 2004, Governor Warner initiated a study that culminated in the strategic goal of doubling Virginia's wine market share. In recent years, farm wineries lost the ability to self-distribute and sell in ABC stores, threatening to undermine that goal.

Many farm wineries rely heavily on wine tasting activities and events to market and sell their products, such as wine tasting lunches, dinners and weddings. In certain instances, tasting activities and events have caused tensions with neighbors and localities have responded. The situation has raised legal questions about whether wine tasting activities and events are subject to local regulation or whether they are exclusively within the regulatory purview of ABC.

In 2006, the General Assembly commissioned a year-long study into Virginia's farm winery industry at the direction of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry to examine the economic viability of the farm winery industry in Virginia and, in doing so, the Secretary was to "also address the relationship between farm wineries and the communities in which they operate, including an assessment of local land use regulations as they relate to efforts to market Virginia wine through activities." Similarly on the national level, a comprehensive study was conducted in 2006 to assist the U.S. Department of Agriculture in determining the economic impact of the American Wine Industry, entitled "The Impact of Wine, Grapes and Grape Products on the American Economy 2007." The results of these studies reveal that on the national level the full economic impact of the U.S. Wine Industry on the American economic is $162 billion, of which the Virginia portion is estimated to be roughly $290 million.

As of the date of publication, multiple Bills are successfully moving through the Virginia General Assembly as legislators are beginning to realize the importance of the wine industry's impact on the State, as well as the National, economy. This effort has been the result of the united efforts of many dedicated individuals who have worked tirelessly to shape history by enacting laws that support the growth of the Virginia Wine Industry that will set the stage for unprecedented expansion and will enable the Virginia Wine Industry to truly unlock the Jeffersonian Dream to become a leader in the American Wine Industry.

*Philip Carter Strother is the founder and managing partner of Strother Law Offices, PLC in Richmond, Virginia, a law firm that represents a number of Virginia farm wineries in various capacities. He holds a Master of Laws degree from The George Washington University Law School, a J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and is a graduate of the Love School of Business, Elon University. Robert Allen is an associate with Strother Law Offices, PLC. He holds a Bachelor of City Planning from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Richmond.

We are Stewards of a Special Land - Fauquier Times-Democrat - December 20, 2006
by Philip Carter Strother

Click here for PDF.

Judging Autism - Style Weekly - September 27, 2006
Parents of autistic children win two important lawsuits against local school systems. Is Virginia ready for the fallout?
by Brandon Walters

Author, Brownfields of Dreams in the Old Dominion: Redeveloping Brownfields in Virginia, William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review (Summer 2000)

Excerpts From Brownfields of Dreams:

In virtually every city across the nation with older industrial zones, public officials are grappling with the challenges associates with abandoned or underutilized industrial and commercial properties - also know as brownfields. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines brownfields as "abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination." These properties include once prosperous industrial areas of Chicago and Detroit; closed timber mills that dot the rural landscape of the Pacific Northeast; abandoned mining operations in Arizona and California; and idle shipyards and railroad depots in Delaware and Virginia.

Throughout this decade, state and locate governments have come to view the redevelopment of brownfields as a unique opportunity to solve multiple problems concurrently. With a minimum of public investment, brownfields redevelopment initiatives promote private sector investment and involvement in community revitalization activities. Many brownfields are located in established urban areas where redevelopment projects can easily access highways, utilities, public works, and other existing infrastructures. Projects that target blighted communities increase employment opportunities, expand the tax base, and reduce costs associated with preventing crime in these decaying areas. Redevelopment efforts also help to reduce hazardous chemical levels on idle properties, curb sprawl development, improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, and preserve open space and farmland. In short, brownfields redevelopment offers a cost effective, environmentally sensitive solution that encourages economic revitalization in depressed communities across the nation.

The interplay between economic development issues and environmental concerns has dominated local development considerations. Developers and investors, cautious of environmental liability, have historically shied away from properties that were previously used for industrial or commercial activities. These properties, subject to many environmental regulations and procedures, can also require additional construction delays that often neutralize the economic viability of development projects. As a result of this uncertainty, investors are reluctant to finance development projects on these properties. This, in turn, causes developers to simply forsake urban cores for undeveloped land in rural and suburban areas that is less expensive and free from the labyrinth of environmental regulations.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has not been immune to development patterns that have abandoned industrial and commercial sites with actual or perceived contamination. Brownfield sites can be found across the Commonwealth, from the banks of the Eastern Shore to the valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), working in coordination with the EPA, is leading the administrative charge to implement programs that will return Virginia's brownfield sites to productive use. Moreover, EPA has created the Brownfields National Partnership for the purpose of coordinating federal agency efforts that address many of these concerns. The Partnership represents a commitment on behalf of over twenty federal agencies to coordinate and actively promote policies and/or programs that encourage the redevelopment of brownfields.
. . .
[These efforts] mark the beginning of a needed, coordinated approach to promote the redevelopment of areas that are plagued by underutilized industrial and commercial properties. By utilizing both state and federal incentives, thereby taking an holistic approach toward brownfield redevelopment, local governments, developers, and communities have many of the tools necessary to begin the process of eradicating the brownfield virus that has spread through Virginia's older industrial and commercial communities.

The future appears to be bright for these once idle and abandoned properties. While the term "brownfields" may not be considered part of Virginians' everyday vernacular, the concept and need to recycle our urban environment has begun to gain a foothold in the minds of many Virginians. There is an ever-increasing understanding that in order to revitalize our cities and preserve our open spaces we must encourage the redevelopment of idle industrial and commercial properties. This awareness is directly reflected in the increasing number of political candidates who are being elected and initiatives enacted that promote concepts such as "smart growth" and that curtail "urban sprawl." Virginians are demanding to live in sustainable communities that encourage open space preservation and urban revitalization, and now the tools are available to make this vision a reality.

Co-Author, Guide to Federal Brownfields Programs, Northeast-Midwest Institute (1999)