December 18, 2018

Update on the Road Case


Installing the emergency bypass culvert


    We have very good news with the roadway case after our third court hearing on Friday Dec 18th.

    As you know, in our first hearing the court basically threw the book at us, and issued a ruling worded in such a way as to allow the court to order the closure of Four Quarters.

     In our second hearing of Aug 3rd the court reversed its position and recognized the engineering plans we had created at great expense, and perhaps hastened by the fact that the roadway had washed out just two days before, granted us emergency powers to proceed with the reconstruction of the washed out crossing according to plan. The court reserved for a future hearing any decision on "reasonable use," the legal doctrine on which it had based its threat of closure.


In a storm of activity we were able to install an emergency roadway culvert, and our first delivery trucks made it into Four Quarters the Tuesday of Stones Rising. During September we ordered the concrete sumps and 80 feet of 32 inch culvert for the final repair, and by the end of September we had completely rebuilt the crossing to the design approved by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection.


At the third and final hearing, after Luther Conrad refused one last generous offer from the church, we proceeded to the presentation of evidence. For over four hours Four Quarters presented the court with photographs, financial records, attendance records, winery sales figures, construction photographs and the personal testimony of Ivy Sturm, Orren Whiddon, Mike McConnell and Kailin Miller. The court was visibly impressed.
    The opposition presented almost no evidence, with our Attorney Steve Passarello demolishing their hired engineer on cross examination. It was a thrilling moment of legal theater, and again, the court was visibly impressed.


   The day ended with our road work and case preceding without modification from the court. The legal process being what it is, we now proceed to ordering the trial transcript, writing the final briefs, and making our final presentation to the court.
    But we are now confident that we will prevail on all points, and that at the end of the day, the driveway easement will transfer to the church, forever!

 This story is updated and expanded in the 2019 Wheel Of The Year Desk Calender, free for the asking.