Land fill: City selling 3.5 acres on Elliott for $10

In a city where downtown land routinely sells for millions per acre, there's a near-downtown tract that's poised for sale for just $2.85 an acre. No, that's not a typo. But is it a giveaway? Depends on who you ask.

On Monday, May 7, Charlottesville City Council gave final approval for an ordinance allowing the sale of a piece of long-held City land to a team consisting of non-profit Habitat for Humanity and for-profit Southern Development. For a 3.5-acre tract lying just a half a mile south of the Downtown Mall, the buyers will pay $10.

"These are the sorts of games that go on in City Hall," says Rob Schilling, a radio talk show host. "The taxpayers are getting stiffed."

City Hall officials, however, characterize this as a quest to better the city and house the poor. They note that the land– just east of Ridge Street on Elliott Avenue– is currently empty and that the deal before City Council (which took its first vote April 16) came about only after an RFP.

Moreover, it turns out that there was actually a losing offer in this quest for the parcel and that when the proposals were opened in December the losing team offered to pay more but demanded the right to balance its payments by whatever it cost to clean up the property, which had been operated as some sort of landfill. In the event the clean-up cost more than half a million, the losing group– which included former mayor Blake Caravati and former City Council contender Brevy Cannon– wanted the taxpayers to front any extra remediation cost with a low-interest loan.

Why didn't the City just auction the land to the highest bidder?

The City's director of economic development, who served on the staff team to review the two proposals, says the project emerged not from his office but from the planning department which wanted to accomplish neighborhood and other goals over the "bottom line." Indeed, it's clear that the RFP itself tried to downplay price.

"The City is interested in competitively-priced purchase offers, though price will not be the only/primary factor considered," reads the RFP.

"The property has so much clean-up cost associated with it," says Charlottesville's planning director, Jim Tolbert, who orchestrated the sale and who estimates the remediation might cost as much as a million dollars. "Nobody in their right mind is gonna essentially pay anything."

The deal that the four Councilors approved (Councilor Dede Smith voted against the sale) demands that developers reserve "approximately 20" of the planned 46 residential units for families earning 25-60 percent of the local median income.

Calling affordable housing a "scam" because it allegedly favors people who move to Charlottesville and helps perpetuate the City's expensive zoning and other development rules, Schilling says he's particularly disappointed that land sold to the city in two chunks, in 1944 and 1957 as a graveyard expansion, is getting turned over to a development team.

Schilling recently invited longtime neighborhood resident Antoinette Roades on his show on 1070 AM to tell his listeners that Oakwood Cemetery was supposed to serve as a "potters field" for the bodies of indigents and that removing this expansion area kills that function. Roades also notes that the City appears to have been operating this landfill illegally and that– with core samples indicating materials piled over 20 feet deep– the detritus must have been hauled by City workers at the direction of City supervisors.

"Of course, any private landowner who had done the same thing at the same time would have been required to clean the property up under penalty of law," Roades writes in a guest editorial at "Failure to do so could have netted a fine, jail time, or both."

Back in the mid 2000s, Albemarle attempted to press penalties on a family that had operated an illegal dump near Keswick. The City, however, simply gets to give up its property. For $10.

–story updated at 9:24am with comments from economic development director and planning director
–updated again at 4:42pm to slightly adjust what Roades told Schilling


Great. One of the last open spaces in the city will be turned into housing. I used to live near there, and the cemetery is lovely in the fall. The road next to the parcel is a shortcut downtown, and there were many birds, including hawks, that took advantage of the meadow. It's too bad that developers never met a piece of land they didn't want to destroy.

The city was using the land as a dumping ground for dirt that was excavated from construction sites. It was not a landfill for trash, just a huge dirt pile that would appear and then be removed over time.

From looking at the City Council meeting last night the land was clearly bought for Oakwood cemetery expansion. Now that this development is happening, what about if all the property tax collected from this parcel (or part of it) was dedicated to the maintenance of Oakwood and burial/cremation expense of indigents. Maybe a block of Locust could go to maintaining Maplewood and a block here for Oakwood. Why did we let the City use this as a dumping ground? Since 1963 the City lost/destroyed the original Maplewood burial records (a 1963 letter proves they had it then but they don't have it now). They also have lost/destroyed the old indigent burial book of Oakwood. Again that one was copied in 1963 so at least the Small special collections has a microfilm copy done in 1963 of it.

This area of town is already concentrated with more affordable or low income housing than any other. Where is the balance ? This should have been a wonderful park to beautify the neighborhood, if the city wanted to have a hand in it, or it should have been sold to the highest bidder - after they cleaned it up.

What is the property tax going to be on that parcel?

We just updated this report by adding a map so you can determine where this is.--hawes spencer


According to City Assessor records, the current value of the two parcels just gift-wrapped and delivered by City Council is $370,700. With a "sale price" of $10, however, that would presumably be adjusted downward for the next assessment cycle.

Otherwise, re clean-up-cost estimates: They seem to increase exponentially every time Charlie Armstrong is asked about them. Given, however, that Charlie Armstrong's maker and mentor Charley Hurt owns every piece of heavy equipment known to mankind -- equipment with which uncountable local landscapes have been reduced to level, rubble, ad inf.., in no time at all -- I'm estimating the HardiPlank-prep cost at a-buck-fifty.

Strange bedfellows... a city council hellbent on redistributing the wealth from those who contribute to the tax base and those who take from it, and a deveoper who wants to get a tax subsidy from those same taxpayers so he can sell them a home.

The city council needs to learn the definiion of the phrase "fiduciary duty"

At least when we get some more out of towners coming on for the giveaway housing we will get more money for the schools for the free lunch program.....

I agree that this is just more subsidizing of the wealthy at the hands of the taxpayer, supposedly to benefit the lower incomes but....

Free school lumches are not something to take a dig at. That's now where the big money is. Unfortunately, this housing project will just add more to the mouths Clark has to feed.

I'll bet Dede Smith opposed it for that very reason. This will overload Clark Elementary with low income kids. The elementary schools are already out of balance and this wouldn't help.

It is admirable to provide affordable housing as Habitat does, but who funds the services that low income people need who move into those dwellings ?

One needs to ask if this land had been privately developed what would the potential tax revenue be and what will it be now under the current configuration ?

The City stepped in this year to pull the school budget out of a hole, but the City Manager made clear this was a one time fix. Adding more children with special needs costs money and if this parcel is a tax loser compared to allowing it to be sold on the open market, how will the city in the future meet, not only it's current needs, but the increased needs of the low income children who will live here ?

In a letter released by Mr. Jones, city manager, at the time of the budget he made clear that:

" “While the city has been able to step in to close annual school deficits over the last couple of years, and proposes to do so again for next fiscal year, we must recognize that the state cuts coupled with declining real estate revenue and continued demands for quality services must result in a thorough review of our future expenditures and revenue streams,” Jones wrote. “We, as a community, need to come together to ensure that our city schools have the highest standards and quality that are desired and expected.”

This appears to be short term planning with no foresight to long term needs. We need to ask if there is balance on the planning commission and city council, or, if there is a undue influence of those whose income derives from advocacy for affordable housing, not just to fill a need, but for their personal livelihoods.

Follow the money- may explain why Habitat and Southern Dev. won this deal.

FYI anyone, below is the very quickly developed timeline that I supplied City Council yesterday in evidence of the property's acquisition for expansion of Oakwood Cemetery:

September 18
Charlottesville City Council meets. Under subject tab “Land – Oakwood Cemetery” official minutes report:
“The Committee appointed to investigate the advisability of purchasing additional land near the Oakwood Cemetery reported that they had purchased, on behalf of the City, some additional land at this location and requested that an appropriation to amount of $1,100.00 be made to cover this purchase. On motion by Mr. Morris, seconded by Mr. Gleason, the following resolution was offered and carried over to the next meeting for consideration:
BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Charlottesville that $1,100.00 be and the same is hereby appropriated in accordance with the foregoing report and request.”
~~Council Minute Box H, page 356

2 October
Charlottesville City Council meets. Under subject tab: “Additional Land – Oakwood Cemetery” official minutes report:
“The resolution appropriating $1,100.00 for additional land near Oakwood Cemetery which was offered at the last regular meeting, was adopted by the following recorded vote: Ayes: Mr. Adams, Mr. Gleason, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Watson. Noes: None.
~~City Council Minute Book H, page 361

13 October 1944
By deed of this date Virgie Gleason Hawes, Lizzie G. Hawkins and Clarence L. Hawkins, her husband, Lillie G. Yates and J.S. Yates, her husband, Hope W. Gleason and Laura E. Gleason, his wife, J. Emmett Gleason and Helen S. Gleason, his wife, and Hugh Morris Hawkins and Dorothy T. Hawkins, his wife transfer to the City of Charlottesville land that fell to them through the will of Effie M. Gleason, deceased.
~~Charlottesville Deed Book 118, page 191
Note: For plat, deed refers to Charlottesville Deed Book 20, page 289. On plat, location and configuration of parcel in question conform to those of Parcel 272.1 on Charlottesville Tax Map 29 for 2012.

4 February
Charlottesville City Council meets. Under subject tab “Appropriation: Land at Oakwood Cemetery” official minutes read:
“BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Charlottesville that $1,000.00 be and the same is hereby appropriated for property at Oakwood Cemetery from the Hugh R. Hawkins, Estate.
~~Charlottesville City Council Minute Book J, page 214

5 February
The Daily Progress under the headline “Report Recommends Parking Ban on North Side of West Main St.” reports on “City Council yesterday”:

“…On other matters yesterday afternoon, the Council…appropriated $2,200 for the purchase of two pieces of property—one from the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway for the Moore’s Creek disposal plant and one from the estate of Hugh R. Hawkins for Oakwood Cemetery.”
~~Daily Progress of 5 February 1957, page 1

8 February
By deed of this date Hugh Morris Hawkins and Dorothy T. Hawkins, his wife, convey to the City of Charlottesville land that fell to them as heirs of May Gleason Hawkins and her husband Hugh R. Hawkins.
~~Charlottesville Deed Book 198, page 61
For plat, deed refers to Charlottesville Deed Book 92, page 124. On plat, location and configuration of parcel in question conform to those of Parcel 266 on Charlottesville Tax Map 29 for 2012 less land subsequently cut off for extension of Elliott Avenue west to Ridge Street.

National Bank publishes the latest in a series of maps of Charlottesville. Map shows Oakwood Cemetery boundaries and shades in its area. Boundaries and shaded in area include all the land acquired in the 1944 and 1957 purchases.
~~”Maps of Charottesville and the University of Virginia,” National Bank and Trust Company, Special Collections, University of Virginia
Note: Map is undated but legend includes statement: “The heavy broken line denotes city limits as of January 1, 1963.”

Map illustrating “Land Use Plan for Charlottesville” (projecting for 1990) prepared by the Charlottesville Department of Community Development shows the Oakwood Cemetery property inclusive of the additional cemetery land acquired in 1944 and 1957 and all that land coded for “Public Use.”
~~Special Collections, University of Virginia

Map illustrating “Land Use Plan for Charlottesville” (projecting for 1990) prepared by the Charlottesville Department of Community Development shows the Oakwood Cemetery property inclusive of the additional cemetery land acquired in 1944 and 1957 and all that land coded for “Public Use.”
~~Special Collections, University of Virginia

If Blake Caravati was involved, as a loser, you can bet something is deeply wrong with this whole thing.

Hawes --

A correction. I did not say on Rob's show that the land should be a Potter's Field for indigents. I said that the City's webpage for Oakwood Cemetery says that it functions as one. But inquiry reveals that there's been no room in Oakwood for such burials for a decade -- one of the reasons the land purchased for expansion should have been opened at least that long ago.

But while Oakwood always provided burial space for indigents, unknowns, and other unfortunates, it's also been for as long a kind of community family cemetery -- and that's been especially true for African-Americans.

So I would guess that all property surrounding this $10 parcel will received a lowering of their assessment as well..............

Thanks for the correction, Ms. Roades, which I've now woven into the story.--hawes spencer

Oh well, what more can we expect from this council, they love to give away money, might as well be the land too. There's no oversight to hold these frauds accountable, no real sense of fiduciary responcibility, so we get what we voted for. Excuse me while I open my own offshore bank account for undisclosed deposits.

at least they are not giving away their money...........

I'm dying to sign that recall petition. Sorry, I can't be the one to start it but I'd be happy to see these guys go.

When a grave is dug isn't there extra dirt? I always thought driving by there the area was being used by the cemetery to put their extra dirt there and that is what the piles of dirt was. I just thought dirt from the cemetery was going there. Now it comes out the City was using this as its own private dumping ground. What happened to all the extra dirt dug from graves since the 1940s if this land was never used as part of the cemetery? Was it widely known this was a City dumping ground and not just dirt from dug graves?

I'm have a hard time following the logic of Hawes, Schilling and most of the comments here. On the one hand, you are saying the city has a fiduciary duty to generate as much profit for taxpayers as possible. On the other hand, you're saying this plot of land should be remediated and made into open space - or at least not developed in any way. You do realize that these positions are the exact opposite of each other, right?

The City Council made the right choice by cutting the difference between these two perspectives. They saved money for the taxpayers in two ways: there will be no public costs of remediation, and land that was previously not taxed will now be taxed at a rate that includes both land and the new improvements.

At the same time, by retaining a certain degree of control over the RFQ process, the city has been able to ensure that the proposals do further the goals outlined in the Comprehensive Plan, especially increasing the stock of affordable housing.

casual road side observer:

I have been a block-away neighbor of Oakwood Cemetery for 25 years. During that time, I've walked in or by it at least once a week. And what I've seen most often on the open 3.5 acres is exactly what you suggest -- that is, that it was consistently used as the staging area that any cemetery needs. (Compare the area at U.Va.'s cemetery that's just north of the north wall by the trail down to The Dell.)

I've seen gravedigging equipment on the site. I've also seen dirt dug from new graves. And, of course, I've also seen the "No Dumping" sign at the drive-in point.

In recent years, I have sometimes seen other organic material piled there -- for instance, limbs and rootballs from storm-damaged trees. But I can remember nothing that I would call "construction debris." And though he clearly did not want to, Jim Tolbert confirmed to Council on Monday that the material below ground there included nothing toxic, as much true "construction debris" would be.

New Reality:

Sometimes, even in public matters, morality plays a role. Communities have considered provision of public burial space to be a matter of basic civic amenity and, in the case of indigent burials, a matter of basic civic compassion for centuries. Also, when land is bought with the people's money for the people's purpose, I think that most would consider the people's representatives both morally and legally obligated to use that land for that purpose -- and especially obligated when the land is both needed and wanted by the people for that purpose.

Antoinette, I respect your position on this, and I don't think you are being inconsistent. I would only say that there are competing moral visions to reconcile here. Others would say that Habitat for Humanity's use of this land to provide a decent home for lower-income families in a good location is also morally praiseworthy. The best thing we can do is have an open public discussion about these values, and make a decision as a community. Your informed perspective has contributed to this conversation.

My comment was directed to Hawes/Schilling and their less reflective followers. The fact that they are simultaneously criticizing City Council for 1. not maximizing profit and 2. not preventing development indicates, to me at least, that they are purely in the business of stirring up discontent. This is unhelpful.

New Reality:

Thank you for thinking me consistent. I would just note again that this land was bought for a particular purpose and is needed and wanted now for precisely that particular purpose. I would think that that would trump one-good-purpose vs. another-good-purpose.

As for Habitat, however: What seems to get lost consistently in this story is that Habitat is the junior partner in the imminent project. Southern Development -- fronted by Charlie Armstrong, who has (irony of ironies) shown unconscionable contempt for Hawkins family remains on SD's Ridge-Cherry property -- is the senior partner. SD will control more units in what will be built Those units will sell at market value. And SD will profit from them.

So Council has not only given land meant for the people's burying ground to Habitat, it has given even more land meant for the people's burying ground to Southern Development, a for profit company that has already received abundant favors at public expense. (As just one example, a substantial price-reduction on already underassessed City property south of Elliott last year.)

Its unconscionable that the city used this land as a dump. If a private citizen had done so, they would have been in a lot of trouble if they got caught.
Then giving it away. What if the cemetery does need expansion in the future? Are these people on Council stupid, dishonest, or both?

We don't need more housing! Jeebus. Can't the developers work with the existing housing stock?


"What if the cemetery does need expansion in the future," you say.

Never mind the future. The cemetery already needs expansion and has needed it for a decade.

Our entire community -- that is, both the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County -- has only two public cemeteries, Maplewood and Oakwood. Maplewood has been "closed" (the word used by both Hill & Wood Funeral Home and Charlottesville Parks & Recreation) for more than 20 years because every single available plot had been sold by then.

And Oakwood is also "closed" because every single available plot east of the two parcels acquired for expansion had been sold by about ten years ago. But Oakwood should not have been and should not be "closed" because earlier officials purchased that 3.5 acres for exactly the situation that occurred -- that is, the sell out of all plots on the land to the east of the expansion land.

And P.S. to HollowBoy:

You asked whether City Councilors are "stupid, dishonest, or both."

Well, former City Councilor Holly Edwards has said on air a couple of times in the last week that last year, when she was still on Council and the idea of developing the 3.5 acres came up behind closed doors, she asked that the land be used to add burial plots to Oakwood but got no support from fellow Councilors for doing that.

Stupid, dishonest, or both? You decide.

when the aquatic center next to Buford was being constructed ,some dirt from there was "relocated" to the cemetery landfill.

If the City Council is having illegal meetings behind closed doors like the statements attributed to Holy Edwards would imply, then they are both stupid and dishonest. Not that we really needed any confirmation mind you.


Actually, the law allows those behind-closed-door meetings. But that doesn't make them right.

If all the George McIntire funded statues in town were moved here maybe some of the council would have agreed to extend the cemetery around the statues. The two civil war canons at the Court house could be put at the entrance. Then the City could start funding more inclusive and correct statutes in their place as some of the councilors want.

Sam --

Thanks for the satirical support. Given your wide and deep knowledge of local history, however, I know that your reference to George McIntire is what I call a thinko. That is, it's a mistake that's just like a typo, except that instead of your fingers moving over one position on a keyboard, your mind moves over one position on the fact chart.

The giver of McIntire Park, multiple world-class sculptures, the public library building that now houses the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, several high school scholarships, and major U.Va. endowments (notably, to the School of Fine Arts and the School of Commerce), was, as I know you know, Paul Goodloe McIntire, son of pharmacist George McIntire and a man who earned every penny he gave away starting with hard work as a teenaged boy.

But on the more current subject of the City buying for future burials land somewhere other than Oakwood -- a subject that I gather was raised by City Councilor Kristen Szakos after I left Monday's City Council meeting: The problem* with that -- indeed, the insurmountable problem with that -- is that land elsewhere wouldn't be in what has become, according to ex-Councilor Holly Edwards in several interviews, "sacred ground" to local African-Americans and is traditional burying ground to many white families as well.

Any place can have, as the Ancient Romans recognized, its own "genius locii" -- that is, its own peculiar spirit. Another way to put that is that every place has its own ghosts. And by any civilization's measure, every place has its own resonance.

Members of current City Council constantly claim to care deeply about people who are invested in this community in ways they will never, ever be invested or even understand. But they've also constantly proved that they're clueless in that regard. And in this case, they've proved themselves beyond clueless. Indeed, they've proved themselves cruel because of the distress that their ill advised decision will cause.

*One has to note that if the City can afford to buy other burying ground -- and also if it can afford $200,000 to errect a statue to honor African-Americans displaced by the ill advised razing of Vinegar Hill -- then the City can afford to clean up the land acquired for the expansion of Oakwood and open that land (as Holly Edwards has said she asked them to do last year) for the purpose intended, wanted, and needed.

Speaking of McIntire and his legacy, has anyone seen the absolutely shoddy work the Historical Society is having done to the marble steps on the park side? Who let those people have that building? They are destroying it! Aren't they supposed to preserve our local history?

The plan approved is for 47 lots. If the clean up costs are 470K that's 10K a lot the City sold it for. If it is double that (940K) then 20K a lot. Go to CAAR website and the cheapest vacant lot for sale in the City limits is 69K, the most expensive is 145K by a quick check. At a sale price of $940K even with 940K clean up costs they would still be getting 47 vacant lots at 40K each. This is after the same Company got (I think it was two) lots on Ridge for no up front costs just promises for the Wm Taylor Plaza which the whole thing is up for sale including the two lots given to them.

Sam --

City Council voted in 2008 to sell two City-owned parcels on Ridge Street -- parcels that had been illegally promised ten years earlier to Dr. Charles Hurt by City Councilor Maurice Cox -- to Southern Development (a Hurt invention) for which those parcels were crucial. But Southern Development has never performed on the sales contract, though it did try last year to transfer it to William Park for a very different project. And City Councilors Norris and Szakos tried in February 2011 to give -- rather than sell -- the same two City-owned Ridge Street parcels to Parks' project. But Councilors Brown, Huja, and Edwards voted no. So those parcels still belong to the City.

Otherwise, the "Available" sign you see near the Ridge-Cherry intersection is actually on one of the two City-owned lots -- which, of course, SD has no right to sell, lease, or commit in any other way. But because SD's friends in City Hall support SD in all, no one there cares and the rest of us can just go hang.

I thought this story was about Oakwood Cemetery? It never fails how someone can side track the commentary like "saywha?" Why do you "assume" the Historical Society is doing the work? Yes they occupy the building, but the work is being done at the direction of the owner of the building, aka City of Charlottesville. You are being very unfair to a very worthy institution who is helping preserve our history. "saywha?", please get your facts straight in the future before maligning others.

CRHA is planning for 116 low income housing units on its property on S. First St diagonal to the cemetery. With 7 low income units proposed for Burnet Commons Phase Two - The Wood and another 20 for this project, the city will have concentrated 143 low-income units within less than a quarter mile radius. This does not include the low income units proposed for Ridge-Cherry. Add that to the other low income homes in the Ridge Street area. Like the current students on S. First St, these students will probably be assigned to Jackson-Via, not Clark.
Does this concentration satisfy the first goal of the RFP? De-concentrate poverty by providing housing for a wide range of incomes in a cohesive, mixed-income community.. It does if Council says it does no matter what anybody else says or how many blocks they define as a community. Others would say that Habitat for Humanity's use of this land to provide a decent home for lower-income families in a good location is also morally praiseworthy. What does morality have to do with any of these businesses? Habitat sold a house to someone for $173,500 on Paton Street. There are quite a few houses in town that this "poor" person could have bought with a little guidance cheaper than this. Especially in 2009 when the housing bubble had broken and houses went to auction.
@New Reality, My comment was directed to Hawes/Schilling and their less reflective followers. The fact that they are simultaneously criticizing City Council for 1. not maximizing profit and 2. not preventing development indicates, to me at least, that they are purely in the business of stirring up discontent. This is unhelpful.. Stop putting words into others mouths or change your name because this statement does not reflect reality. Jim Tolbert, in trying to deny the the city purchased the land to augment Oakwood, said that the land was purchased for "public or institutional" use. Giving this land to private developers is not a "public or institutional" use. Being in the real estate, Schilling is not against development. However, he questions why this land is being given away to private developers who are selling this development for their financial benefit. The city has used this property for decades as a landfill. It would dump fill dirt there, then later come back and remove it to use as fill somewhere else. That is why there are no mountains on the property. Any fill 20 feet below the surface will not have to be removed because Tolbert admits it is not toxic. No fill has had to be removed from the land the City gave to SD/HH on the southern side of Elliot for Burnet Woods. Why were they given this land, too? Because of the unknown fill. It is amazing that people still believe what comes out of City Hall.
I, too, wonder why the City repeatedly shows favoritism to SD. It contributed financially to Burnet Commons; it provided zoning exceptions for Brookwood and Willoughby Townes; it has made land available for Ridge-Cherry; it has given free land for the Woods; and now it wants to provide 3.5 acres. I wonder if we need to have someone in City Hall examined for STDs. I wonder if any of this has anything to do with Charlie Armstrong, VP of SD, serving on the City's affordable housing advisory committee and once serving as it chair and HH's ex. Dir., Dan Rosensweig, serving as a voting Planning Commissioner. The are both in a marvelous position for quid pro quo scenarios. New Reality, there is no new reality. This cronyism has been going on under the guise of “morality” for a very, very long time and I can assure you it not for providing the “poor” with brand new middle class housing.

I forgot to indicate that Burnet Woods in on the map above adjacent to the brown Burnet Commons on the west side in the yellow. It will be a five-acre development.

It should have gone to the Cemetery or why couldn't some part of it, like half have gone to the Cemetery? They admit now that was the purpose at least it was bought for. Since they just had to sell it why not get at least $940K and put it in a trust fund for the Cemetery or the schools the children will go to like Clarke. And don't give permission to use a Cemetery road for large equipment for this project. Those little roads are just for getting to a grave site don't be bringing big equipment on them. And Dr. Hurt bought 5 acres in Belmont adj Quarry Park near us. That's fine he got it the old fashion way by buying from a private estate and paying market price.

The South side of C-ville is the poor side of town. This project continues that tradition.

C-ville Eye:

Your reportage and analysis are impressive as usual and completely relevant to the Oakwood situation.

Also relevant to Oakwood: It has been brought to my attention that the proposal submitted by Southern Development and Habitat calls not just for building on the 3.5 acres provided for cemetery expansion but for actual invasion of the portion of the cemetery where burials have already taken place. That will occur via the widening, resurfacing, etc. of the cemetery's westernmost drive, presumably to turn it into a City street.

And the SD-Habitat proposal also pledges to incorporate adjacent land. That would be the land controlled by former Mayor Blake Caravati (Tax Map 29, Parcels 275 and 277) and former City Council candidate Brevy Cannon (Tax Map 29, Parcel 278.1), who as the story notes submitted their own proposal for the 3.5 acres. What the story does not note, however, and what I did not know until Monday just past, is that the Caravati-Cannon plan actually called for digging up bodies to open more building space.

We're told relentlessly that Charlottesville is the best place on the planet to live. Given the callous, uncivic actions of current Councilors Huja, Szakos, Norris, and Galvin and the high-impact plans they have enabled it can now claim title as the worst place to die. And that will be true not just for the indigent and otherwise unfortunate but even for those who happened to secure an Oakwood plot before all the available ones were sold.

RIP? Not here.

I think these sort of Shenanigans can be stopped by suing the City for violation of the 14th Amendment. It's clear they are trying to intejsify segregation into one part of the city with the so called low income housing, and continue to place a burden on a certain set of schools.