White’s Ferry owner pushes Rockland Farm to land

In a new statement, ferry owner Chuck Kuhn accuses Virginia landowner of insulting him. But Rockland Farm claims an arbitration offer is on the table

LEESBURG, Virginia – Another shot has been fired across the Potomac River in the dispute that kept the Historic White’s Ferry on the ground for nearly a year.

Now he has new accusations that the owners of the landing on the Virginia side are refusing to negotiate.

Virginia landowners deny the request and say they are offering to go to binding arbitration with Historic White’s Ferry owner Chuck Kuhn.

Claims come as a fight over whether or not Loudoun County should step in and seize private land on the Virginia side escalates after a new study is released saying a restart of the service will have a combined economic impact of $ 9 million in Loudoun and Montgomery counties.

On Friday, Kuhn, a moving company mogul, released a written statement claiming he had been “slandered” and “insulted in public” by the owners of the Virginia property.

Kuhn, who owns the ferry and land on the Maryland side, accused the owners of Rockland Farm LLC of refusing to negotiate.

Rockland Farm owns the land on the Virginia side used as a landing stage.

Rockland insists on being paid $ 2 million or 50 cents per car to let the ferry dock on their side, according to statements by co-owner Libby Devlin.

Kuhn refuses to pay, so the ferry has been stranded on the Maryland side since December 2020.

Kuhn claims he offered $ 13.5 million in cash to buy Rockland Farm with no results.

“Given the difficulty and unprofessional nature of negotiating with Rockland Farm property, no further negotiation with them seems possible,” Kuhn said in his statement Friday.

Devlin told Loudoun’s supervisory board on Tuesday that his family had made six different offers to settle with Kuhn.

“Rockland Farm deserves to receive fair payment for the use of its landing stage, just as the new ferry owner should be compensated for the use of the Maryland landing stage. If the shoe was on the other foot, ”Devlin said.

“Unfortunately, the prospect of the county condemning the Rockland landing for the use of the new owner prevents them from negotiating with us,” she added.

In a written statement released Saturday in response to Kuhn’s allegations, Devlin said she was proposing binding arbitration: “Rockland was willing to come to the table with the previous and new owners of White’s Ferry from day one. . We continue to believe a volume-based charge of fifty cents per vehicle is a very reasonable price for the use of our landing. Even at significant risk to us, we have offered to enter into binding arbitration whereby a third party Neutral would choose the fairest solution. We continue to hope that White’s Ferry will join us in reaching a private agreement to reopen this historic gem that has crossed the Potomac for as long as any of us can remember. “

Pressure for Devlin’s land grab is mounting after a new study claimed an economic impact of $ 9 million per year from the ferry restart. The study also found that a government takeover of the ferry could cost taxpayers $ 3 million per year.

Loudoun County Supervisor Caleb Kershner weighed in on Tuesday: “This is a dispute between private parties, one that we really don’t want to get involved in unless we absolutely have to.”

Other witnesses said an attempt by Loudoun County to seize land by eminent domain so that a private business such as White’s Ferry could operate may not be legal.

In Maryland, Montgomery County Director Marc Elrich urged the Loudoun County government to get involved.

“I implore you what action you can,” Elrich told supervisors Tuesday.

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