ERNIE IRVAN FILES IRONIC LAWSUIT

Ernie Irvan, a man who made a living driving cars that made a lot of noise and kicked up a lot of dust, is suing his neighbor who says he would not be able to make a living on his farm if not for his customers who drive cars that make a lot of noise and kick up a lot of dust.

According to the Post & Courier newspaper in South Carolina, Irvan and his wife Kim are suing their Wadmalaw Island neighbor Pete Ambrose and his business, a 130-acre community-supported agriculture farm. That’s one of those hippie farms where people purchase a stake at the start of a growing season and pick up their fruits and vegetables every week. OK, OK, that actually sounds like good, sound capitalism. Probably not the same Prius-driving, Obama-worshipping crowd that tends community gardens and keeps Whole Foods in business.

The Irvans say they are tired of cars that use a dirt road that runs along the edge of their 49 acres. The cars kick up dust, which settles all over their barn, which they chose (perhaps poorly) to build near a dirt road. The Irvans also dislike Ambrose’s U-pick berry business that runs in April and May because of increased traffic and customers who wander onto their land and pet their horses. The Irvans and Ambrose belong to the Selkirk Property Owners Association, which has a "covenant" prohibiting retail and commercial activities, but allows generally accepted farming practices. The Irvans say Ambrose is running a commercial activity; Ambrose says what he does is farming. So, naturally, it’s time to get the lawyers involved.



Ambrose has been farming the land for 35 years. The Irvans moved in three years ago. Ambrose started selling shares two years ago.

Apparently it has occurred to no one to pave the road.

UPDATE: On 12/14/09 the Post & Courier reported that the Irvans have dropped the lawsuit. Ambrose said he is still worried because he thinks some members of the association want to shut down his farm.

Ex-racer Irvan, wife sue to limit cars (Post & Courier)
Farmer relieved ex-racer’s suit dropped, but still has worries (Post & Courier)