Schultz certified: Enviro 'attack' goes to grand jury

news-louis-schultz-arrestRob Schilling captured the arrest of Louis Schultz, and says city workers "didn't seem frightened at all."

A judge found Louis Schultz's use of his car to stop city workers from fixing a sewer line intentional enough to send an attempted malicious wounding charge to a grand jury

"He looked angry and crazy," said Steven Todd Morris, the Charlottesville Public Utilities employee in charge of the April 29 repair on Steephill Street in Woolen Mills.

In Charlottesville General District Court today, Morris described watching a backhoe on Steephill, the narrow, contested street that borders Schultz's Market Street property, when an employee said, "Here comes Mr. Schultz."

Morris said he saw Schultz's car barreling down the hill toward him, jumped out of the way, and told the backhoe operator to put the bucket down as a protective measure. "When I turned around to get away from the car, I could have reached out to touch it with my arm," he said, estimating his distance from the car. "I jumped out of the way, and it was still moving."

After going nose-to-nose with the backhoe, Schultz, testified Morris, remained in his car and took pictures of the scene "with a crazed look on his face."

Schultz did not testify, but his lawyer, Bonnie Lepold, argued that Schultz wasn't trying to "maim, disfigure or kill"–- intent the law requires to secure a conviction–- when he drove his car on Steephill. "It may amount to civil disobedience," Lepold said, "not to a felony."

Judge Robert Downer disagreed, and certified the Class 5 felony charge to an October 18 grand jury. "Clearly, Mr. Morris was extremely frightened," observed Downer.

Not everyone's so convinced that Schultz had mayhem in mind.

"It sounds absolutely ridiculous to me," says radio host Rob Schilling, who arrived at the scene of the dispute in April shortly after Schultz drove his car up to the backhoe.

"I saw workers ambling from the scene," says Schilling, who began videotaping the incident. "I'm sure if they thought they'd be hurt, they'd be scrambling rather than ambling."

Schultz's history of disputes with the city goes back nearly a decade when he was cited for not cutting his grass. Schultz maintained he was creating an environmentally healthier riparian buffer. And in 2006, green-leaning Charlottesville acknowledged the benefits of such buffers in its ordinances.

Shultz also was arrested on Steephill in 2004 when a neighbor tried to pave the murkily titled thoroughfare, part of which Schultz contends he owns.

"I believe this whole thing is about making an example of him," says Schilling, "when he's standing up for his property rights in a visible way. The city is making an example of him."


Louis is a fine and honest person. His only "crime" is standing up to the city thugs who are abusing their power. Louis would never attempt to hurt anyone and is not a violent person.

The city on the other hand has a long history of doing whatever they want and crushing the citizens.

The charges against Louis are fabricated as a means to deny him his property rights.

so, the only way to foster infrastructure improvement is to prosecute a property owner who is protecting his right to decide how his property is treated? If the city can prove it's contention why is it working so hard to squash discovery? if Mr. Morris was so afraid maybe he should get reassigned to trash pick-up or snow removal, he sounds a little fragile for the job. what about the fear of Mr. Schultz as he watches strangers begin to steal his property? what would any of us do when a crew of pot-bellied backhoe wielding strangers show up? where's the ombudsman when you need him. we're not talking about the Waco Compound of the Branch Davidians, but an honest, hard-working, contributing citizen of Charlottesville. why the jack-booted response? why haven't the original surveys been validated or publicly viewed? These definitely needs to be an investigation by the Commonwealth Attorney's Office that would at least provide through discovery, Mr. Schultz with the documents he needs for his own defense. this ham-handed attempt at forcing a citizen to obey a bunch of dingdongs on a backhoe is misguided,and proves that justice in Cville is about how big your wallet is. Judge Downer shame on you for facilitating this land-grab. If it was your property the city would think twice before stealing it from you or your cronies. where is your sense of probity and fairness? remember too, the menace concocted by the Utilities crew is nothing compared to the fact it was a public works truck that killed a cyclist on Main Street. I think we all know how difficult it is to get results from Public Works and Utilities maybe Mr. Schultz was just concerned about the competency of the crew doing the work. remember the Snowpocalypse? the Tornado affair?Is this what passes for "world-class city"? i bet those glossy tourist magazines would love to follow this trial. Fox News where are you?

"middle ground," no one has answered your question, probably because it looks a lot like the question "when did you stop beating your wife?"

this is the rare case where the other weekly paper has better coverage of a news item. search google for the headline "City took private property without due process" if you would like to read their article. that paper quotes ric barrick, the city’s director of communications as saying: ââ?¬Å?In this most recent incident, there was raw sewage going into a creek and we needed to correct that.”

can you explain why your description of things varies so greatly from that of the city's spokesperson? are you suggesting that sewage was flowing into a neighbor's basement, flooding it and then pouring into the creek? that would have had to be a tremendous amount of sewage and i think rob schilling would have noticed and mentioned it. it seems rather more likely that nothing of that scenario is true. your demand that someone else explain the motivation behind a behavior that exists only in your imagination is ridiculous.

i've never agreed with much that rob schilling has to say, but i listen to him regularly. about half my day is in the office, where it's diane rehm, terry gross, and pals. in the car the rest of the time, it's boortz, hannity, and schilling. this issue was discussed a couple of months ago on schilling's show and it was a conservative talk "driveway moment" for me. there may still be an archived podcast of that show, but i couldn't find it.

im going from memory but i believe the sewer line in question runs from a single house, maybe two, down a hill to a distant sewer main. that's what rob schilling's pictures seem to show and google satellite and street views seem to confirm. it was explained that the damage that needed to be repaired was a small hole that allowed rain water to enter, not exit the pipe.

rain water entering our sewer system is a problem. the youtube video of charlottesville sewer mains gushing toilet paper and tampons into local streams illustrates that in vivid detail. it is though, not at all what you have demand an explanation for. furthermore it does not seem to have been such an emergency situation that normal, legal protocols that don't trample on property rights could not have been observed. shannon hill's post above lists some of those protocols that were apparently ignored. why they were ignored is the question that really demands an answer.

I will second John's comments. This whole case should be nullified until a fair and conclusive review by impartial arbiters is conducted. It is my understanding that the basic facts in the case are still in dispute after years of debate. Who owns the land? What easements exist? What rights and obligations do the various parties have? If all these questions, which have been in dispute for years, are not resolved, then prosecuting Mr. Schultz is unconscionable. Given the nature of the street, some reasonable notification and communication between the city and Mr. Schulz would be appropriate. It would be in everyone's interest to resolve this issue amicably.

I have to agree with Middle Ground, especially after comments on the previous article bashed "Public Works employees coming to their defense" on the comment board - what's the difference here? I don't know Mr. Schultz and don't want to debate whether he's a nice guy - I'm sure he is to many people! This situation and these comments do raise several questions, though:

@Donal, @Mickey - how are Mr. Schultz's actions "environmentally friendly" or "sustainable" in any way? I would appreciate some insight into this. From the article, it seems that Mr. Schultz is preventing necessary sewer repairs that are important for sanitation and the environment - and not just for him but for his neighbors.

@CookieJar - how do you know that the City was going to damage Mr. Schultz's property? How do you know that he wasn't going to be compensated if that happened?

Perhaps these questions should have been raised on the previous thread in April, as I myself don't believe that Mr. Schultz's actions amount to a "grand felony". However, I still look forward to answers to these questions and wonder why Mr. Schultz had to cause (what seems to be) an unnecessary confrontation to begin with.

I have known Louis for at least 15 years and am quite certain he had no intention of hurting anyone. He just wanted to stop the work being done on his property. Louis is a hardworking, passionate, and honest person. The case against him should be dropped. Period.

"take the street" "get the proper easement" means eminent domain which would cost the city money. And the city doesn't like giving money to people it doesn't like. As I said before, the city has many arguments with Mr. Schultz before and he needs to be punished.

Is it impossible for the state and local governments (as well as the news industry) to determine who owns the portion of land Schultz claims to own?

Is this too difficult of a task for the entirety of the masses of State and local cubicle jockeys?

After he spends a few thousand$$$ fighting this, he'll be just another little mouse, afraid to stick his head up too much, lest it be mistaken for a nail.

So when the city doesn't repair the sewer line and the sewage backs-up and raw sewage starts to come out of that line because Mr. Schultz succeeded in stopping them, I hope he doesn't ask the City to help him out. I only hope his neighbors don’t suffer because of his ignorance.

So when the City doesn't repair the sewer line and sewage backs-up and raw sewage starts to come out of that line because Mr. Schultz succeeded in stopping them, I hope he doesn't ask the City to help him out. I only hope his neighbors don’t suffer because of his ignorance.

"why such distrust"

Seems to me the city has a long list of people who lack trust, faith etc in its ability to take care of its responsibilities.

This very paper rarely goes two months without an article that shows questionable competence in the city or county it is the 360k for playground equipment, last week it was the same folks not having 6k to keep the beches open. In the past it has been refusing to plow snow even though they were collecting taxes, cops running over people in wheelchairs and then giving THEM the ticket, cops shoving pregnant women and iraq veterans for hollering at a cop who was driving like a maniac,

Maybe the city and county should ask THEMSELVES why people don't trust them.

The workers at the site are innocent pawns. It is the people in the offices that created this mess and it is up to them to fix it.

It is not up to Mr Shulz to prove that it is his property it is the trespassers responsibility to prove they have claim.

I have know Louis for many, many years and know that these events have all occurred because he is very concerned about environmental issues on his land, especially issues of stormwater, and those impacts on his neighborhood.

For years, their have been many oversteps by the city (In my opinion) about his property- from the compost, the buffer grasses, and the paving of the lower part of Steep Hill drive. This last incident is just an escalation of events that the City has failed to resolve in a prompt manner with all the adjacent neighbors of Steep Hill.

As for the "barreling down" Steel Hill, I will not even slowly go down Steep Hill drive because of fear I will wreck my car. In 12 years, I have never driven down it in fear my car would get wrecked being lower to the ground.

I know by Louis driving down Steel Hill to stop the work may be an act of civil disobedience. But that is all, he wasn't trying to hurt anyone- he wanted to work to stop. I am sure he was mad, but saying someone is "wild eyed and crazed" is a little much. He would have know from the past that the workers would have called the police as they did when paving the lower part of Steep Hill. So logically, he would have not been aiming to hurt anyone.

The most important issue right now is not who has rights to that parcel, it is that Louis did not intentionally act to harm those city workers and an attempted malicious wounding charge is far too harsh for an act that may more on the lines civil disobedience.

Mr Schultz has worked long and hard to develop his property into a sustainable urban farm. All he asks is that the city determine the boundaries of his property so that he can continue caring for what is his in a responsible, ecologically sound manner. It's time for the city to stop spending money on persecuting/prosecuting Mr Schultz and to spend it on determining the property rights issue regarding Steephill St.

Mr Schultz's defenders are conveniently ignoring the fact that the city crew was repairing a broken pipe so that sewage wouldn't flood a neighboring house. The city met with Mr Schultz on-site the previous day to discuss the scope of the work needed with him and to get his input. When he didn't like what he was hearing, he stormed off in yet another of the fits of childish anger that sets the tone for most of his conversations regarding "his" property. He walked away from the table, leaving the city no choice but to go ahead and do the work as planned. Then he had the nerve to come at them with his car in order to "take pictures." If he merely wanted to take pictures, why didn't he approach from the closest direction (the bottom of the street) by car or on foot? Why did he call Rob Schilling-- of all people-- to come witness what he was about to do? His actions show intent. It was completely irresponsible and dangerous of him to approach in a vehicle from the steepest portion over a very rutted surface. Re the pictures, it's doubtful that Schultz could snap pics while steering his car through deep potholes in the direction of the workers, so it's not surprising that there are no pictures of the workers attempting to get out of the way. While his intent may not have been to harm, it most likely was meant to intimidate.

For the record the jury is still out over whether the street is or isn't his property, so he may be defending for naught. At any rate, if not the city's, it would belong equally to all the residents with abutting land, not just Mr Schultz. In the meantime, is the answer that NO repairs are to be made to any pipes in the vicinity? Is that environmentally responsible?

One can admire all the hard work that he and his wife have put in to making his yard a sustainable paradise, and still disagree with what he did on April 29th. Their property is undeniably beautiful and I greatly appreciate their being environmentally responsible. But I also feel that, in this instance, the city is in the right. Mr Schultz has once again shot himself in the foot by setting the tone that if you're not 100% for him, then you're 100% against him. He makes the choice to deal with people in that manner. The city was just trying to repair a broken pipe. They weren't "stealing" his property. Mr Schultz certainly doesn't have the resources to repair the pipe himself, so what was the solution? Where's the concern for the neighbor whose house could have ended up filled with sewage, so Schultz could make a point?

@very old timer, again, I'm not here to defend the City, but "this very paper" tends to print anything remotely controversial to question the City/the County/UVA/"the man", whether or not the claims against "the man" are justified - not that that is wrong; there is a need to question authority, and the Hook is an appropriate forum to do so. I'm not saying the City is flawless (and I certainly won't come to the back of some of the performances of law enforcement around here), but just because someone raises a claim against someone in authority, that does not make it correct (the snow plowing thing is one where I will definitely disagree with you). I think in this example and some other cases as well, the Hook has tried to do a good job of telling both sides of the story, which is why I still have questions about Mr. Schultz's actions. Still looking for some answers!

in Woolen Mills that the city cited for his compost heap only later to find out that the city three different codes regulating composting and they all said something different? Isn't the city trying to claim access to the Rivanna across his property? This many has been harrassed by the city for years.

Well said.

"I’ve noticed a lot of rude and disrespectful comments aimed at city workers. It is no more right to make such nasty comments about innocent strangers that work for the city than it is to denigrate Louis Schultz if you don’t know him. Such reckless speech could have a whole lot to do with how this whole mess got started in the first place."

Right on, nora. Cville Eye, I'm not sure who you are, but I can tell you I'm not a City employee, and I highly doubt Middle Ground is, either. Mr. Rahal, shame on you in particular for using this story as an excuse to bring up other public works "fails" that you obviously are very uninformed about. Animosity betweens citizens and government runs both ways; it's unfortunate that a trivial matter such as repairing a sewer pipe has turned into such a squabble for both parties.

Still looking for an answer to this question (while admitting that it's a bit after-the-fact): why was Mr. Schultz opposed to having this pipe repaired to begin with, if the City was going to do the work, which would (ideally) prevent harm to both his property and his neighbors? Why so much distrust?! I look forward to a response.

I have known Louis and Laura for over 15 years and have been their neighbor for over 11 years. Although Louis’s academic training has been weighted on the decorative arts his depth of understanding on environmental issues is profound. His gut reaction is often correct about what should be done in a particular situation when others are floundering or downright wrong.

The City has been extremely remiss in not resolving this mess. Principally the City Attorney and the City Manager, but the mayor and counselors must also take some of the blame for allowing this issue to fester for so many years, for it has come up several times in Council Meetings. To be fair it is a very complex matter -- it goes back to the days when the Woolen Mills was a Company Village outside the city limits and although there are many alleys in the city that have similar ownership problems, none is quite as complex as this one

Incidentally, Louis is NOT claiming that he is the only owner of Steephill -- there are now five adjacent properties involved: two on Chesapeake, one on Steephill and two on East Market (one of these being the Schultz property).

Louis and the City have been on a collision course for many years, and usually through no fault of Louis’s. There was the Compost Heap fiasco where workers were instructed to cite the Schultzs because their compost heap contained vegetation--no I am not hallucinating--Mayor Cox noted that he was also in violation as his compost heap was entirely composed of vegetation! The paving of the lower part of Steephill without checking ownership was a critical error and only served to escalate tensions.

I think Louis was ill-advised in driving his car down Steephill that April day--but as for ââ?¬Å?barreling” down that alleyway--it is physically impossible, the bottom would be torn out of most cars attempting anything but a very slow approach. I know, I went down that very steep hill a couple of days later in my Subaru, and Louis’s car is very low slung and I know he would not risk damaging it.

Ill-advised�yes. Intent on malicious damage--a resounding NO.

@"Greg Doggerel"-- are you actually criticizing someone else for posting under an anonymous name? Does your criticism also apply to Mr Schultz's defenders, or only his detractors and those merely asking questions? Or is it only for people who say things you disagree with?

Where did I demand Mr Schultz's "head on a platter"? Where did I say that a criminal trial was the appropriate method to discover who owns the street? You're exaggerating wildly, you're weirdly defensive, and seem to take this story very personally.

Since you seem to know so much about this story, why don't you step up and answer the question that people are asking: Why did your friend think it was okay for his neighbor's basement to fill up with sewage? Why do you think this is reasonable, responsible, or environmentally sound?

My name is appropriate. I complimented the Schultzes for taking such good care of their property and for being great environmental stewards. I've said that correct ownership should be established, even though it will probably be very complicated to do so. I've said that I didn't believe Mr Schultz's intention was to harm anyone with his car. However, I disagree with Mr Schultz's actions towards the workmen who were only trying to fix a broken pipe. I also find it laughable and arrogant that not a single one of his friends cares enough about the neighbor to even spare them a passing word, or to answer a very simple question.

once again the city workers try to step on the little guy with assistance from their masters. when will cville stop messing with law-abiding property owners who dilligently develop and maintain their property and in mr Schultz's case, far better than the city maintains its own city yard. trying to intimidate mr. schultz with backhoes, police protection and now a willing court only highlights the inequity in representation private citizens have when fighting city hall.
mr. schultz isn't some kook survivalist or even a violent person, he's just protecting his property and liberty. last time i looked that's what happened when we had a revolution in this short-sighted country. with all the resources, attorneys and bureaucrats cville couldn't find a peaceful way to mediate this or even give mr. schultz the discovery documents he needed to fight back. shame cville, shame on the city workers and public works department, and shame on city council for not investigating this matter properly. you may have burnished your reputation for pushing people around but the truth has a funny way of outing you in the end.

I have known this gardener, designer, architect, artist, and friend to all for more then a decade and I personal can tell you Louis Schultz is no ââ?¬Å?angry and crazy” person. Nor is he a harmful person in any manner.

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have Mr. Schultz walk me around his amazingly designed garden. He has explained in detail of how he has incorporated some wonderful thought out Low Impact Development technology. These standards can be seen used by law in the surrounding District of Columbia and Maryland area. The City of Charlottesville has so much to learn from Mr. Schultz, because these LID laws will eventually trickle down to this area. It is a shame to see in person the damages the city has caused on his design from maintenance work gone wrong.

So, why the attack on him for standing up to laws and standards being up held in the surrounding counties of our Capital? Would we be putting the Prince George’s County officials on trail for force stopping a developer from building a parking lot that do not meet these LID laws? Are we going to go back in history to arrest the revolutionary Landscape Architect/writer of independence who developed the ââ?¬Å?small mountain” above Charlottesville because he was ahead of his time in design and environmental practices?

I do believe Mr. Gibson said it best ââ?¬Å? this story goes far beyond simple land stewardship.” The city has known for many years about the dispute on Steephill Street with Mr. Schultz and should be finding a clear conclusion on these matters. Until then, Mr. Schultz should not be prosecuted in this manner for being a forward thinker who wants the City of Charlottesville to be in the fore front of environmental sustainability. The need to be sensitive to the unresolved dispute and communicate clearly with him about any work needed to be done could have prevented such a headache - for the city and for Mr. Schultz.

Charging Louis Schulz with attempted malicious wounding is absolutely ridiculous. I can't fault Judge Downer with certifying though, as he is only making a determination of probable cause based on the evidence that the COMMONWEALTH's ATTORNEY chooses to present. That's where the problem lies--prosecutors abusing their power to over-charge our citizens. Meanwhile, actual violent criminals run loose. Jeez.

The true argument here is ownership of the property of SteepHill Street. Mr. Schultz has asked the City of Charlottesville to clarify certain right-of-ways, and apparently the City cannot find any proof of their ownership.

Mr. Schultz defended his rights when the city yet again intruded into his property. I'm sure this frustrated Mr. Morris and other city employees. Still, Morris' own statements seem inconsistent. He says Schultz "looked angry and crazy" yet Mr. Schultz took pictures of the scene after he stopped his car. Therefore, Mr. Schultz was prepared and not "crazy". Actually, Mr. Schultz was concerned about documenting the event, which seems rational to me.

It appears that the City of Charlottesville cannot prove ownership of this street, so instead they have decided to attack the owner of the property.

Louis is one of my favorite people. I've known him for years. I don't doubt for a moment that Louis was engaged in some serious civil disobedience, and inherent with civil disobedience is a willingness to be punished for violating the law in question. And I imagine that he is appropriately prepared. But Louis wouldn't hurt a fly. It's entirely possible that the public employee truly was fearful (I have no idea�I wasn't there) but the fact that he was afraid does not mean that Louis intended him harm. Because, yeah, there's really just no way.

it really is as simple as this: the city should drop all charges.

then they should do the work to find out who really own the propety.

after that, they should send over their workers, from the policy makers to the road workers, to be led in work shops by louis and his wife laura on how to care for this area's water quality with run off issues all the way to urban gardening. and they should pay them for their sharing of their knowledge.

does the city still have to stoop down to reality show antics to save face?

louis would not have hurt any of these folks. really. i have known him since 1995 and i have been his neighbor for over 9 years.

it is getting more embarrassing to say i live in charlottesville by the minute.

Assuming the city has an easement and it's hard to think they don't if municipal sewer lines are involved, then the city has the right to maintain those lines and the guy is out of order interfering. The law relating to easements is often poorly understood by the GP, but if you own land through which an easement runs you are the "servient tenement" and the holder of the easement is the "dominant tenement". these terms make evident the relationship between the 2 parties in the matter.
With that said, the charges against this cat seem to be prosecutorial over-reach. As a realtor, I have had my share of dealing with client misunderstandings of easements. The classic story is the new owner of property thinking he can eliminate an access easement by closing it off with a big pile of rocks. I own property with an alley just like Schultz's which serves me as a buffer between me and a disagreeable neighbor, but otherwise just a piece of land that I have to mow. There's a sewer line there and of course the city has to maintain it. Why would I interfere?

I don't know Mr.Morris but i do know he is telling the truth, but thats just about pictures being taken. I can't believe a judge didn't throw the case out because of them. My Hannity loving FauxNews watching -ex- roommate helped code a website for this because of the property rights. He had pictures emails, maps, all kinds of stuff for the website. Never went up I think,don't know why. He showed me some to prove "my" democratic party was trying to"destroy" Charlottesville.

I said "BS" but those pictures are a bunch of guys standing around leaning on shovels and joking and not running scared.One or two are working but right in front of the car. Looks like all those big highway crews with only one guy working. They don't look like they even know anyone else is there and joking and smiling not looking "extremely frightened". It was like 15 minutes! Why doesn't teh Hook show that.Or the emails? Alot of people saw them, that how the -ex- got involved..

The local government does want to crush this guy because hes got the "bawls" to stand up to them and they don't likeit.Show the pictures and the emails Hook. When I read some of them, I had to say my roommate had a point.The mayor knew, city manager knew, alot of people knew, but noone could stop this abuse from happening to a property owning citizen? What do we pay them so much for! No wonder the "Tea Party" is growing fast. Not me yet, but I can see why.

wonder if the city ever bothers to read its own code-

Sec. 41. Taking or damaging private property.
The city shall not take or damage any private property for streets, or other public purposes, without making to the owner, or owners, thereof just compensation for the same.

just a few years ago, americas best small city. now that those days are over looks like they're trying to be number one in arrogance, wastefulness, and being on the wrong side of lawsuits.

My first question is who pays property taxes on the land That person to me is the owner who deserves WRITTEN PROOF that the city has the right to do what it was doing. If no one is paying taxes on the land then the city must own it by default.

Secondly, suppose ther sewer pipe ran UNDERNEATH his house, Should the city just be able to show up with a work order and tell him to move aside so they can bulldoze his house and fix the pipe?

If he asks for proof from the city of their rights to tear up property he pays taxes on then the city needs to shown him WRITTEN PROOF of their easement. If they do not have an easement then they need to go to a judge and get an emergency order. If there is no time for that then there needs to be a clear declaraion of the emergency and only as a last resort should they destroy his property without formal written paperwork.

This was not a fire and a firetruck driving across his lawn to save a neighbor, this was work crews who had to be gathered and assigned. If they had time to do that they had time to get authorization from a judge.

Ths city could have probably have avoided all of this if they had done their job and cleared up the dispute that has evidently been going on for years.

Could the Hook do some research and find out who pays taxes on the property in question?

I've known Louis for over 25 years. He wouldn't endanger anyone.
It's easy to portray someone as unstable with a few quotes, but as others above have stated, Louis has no history of threatening behavior. Prosecuting him on hearsay is thin at best.

His conflict with the city about his property has been going on for years. Apparently the best solution that the city had was to force the issue , and when Louis stood up against them, file criminal charges against him.

Louis has improved his property over the years. He's concerned about drainage and sewage. He likes his land and thoughtfully works with it. This is a guy who cares, not the out-of-control weirdo that some people would like to create in order to make their argument work.

@Middle Ground , obviously you are a city employee. How difficult do you think it is to run over somebody with a car? If Mr. Schultz intended to strike someone with a big car, it's easy. Do you really think he would have invited Rob Schilling to witness his running someover with a car? I little bit of brain use can take you a long way.

Middle Ground,

"highly likely that the square footage of Steephill St is NOT added in to the square footage listed on the city assessor’s records for the abutting properties,"

Why do you say that? Alleyways are private property that both the city and services have right of way on. Many of those alleyways have been allowed to fall into decay, and then other owners decide to clear them up. That doesn't make it City property.

Your point about the survey though only highlights the failures, not balances the City's position. If this has been surveyed, why the debate for years and years?

Again, I have seen City employees be very reasonable with private property owners over doing necessary work, but I have also seen the City be very foolish about trampling rights, and then try and hide behind all sorts of things.

Very Old Timer, highly likely that the square footage of Steephill St is NOT added in to the square footage listed on the city assessor's records for the abutting properties, and that the abutting residents do not pay taxes on it. Either the residents or the city can have surveys done to clear that up. It seems that the person who is disputing the issue should probably pay for the survey work necessary to prove their claim. That would be Mr Schultz.

I'd like to agree with nora ayala above that the nasty comments against city workers who are doing their jobs are uncalled for. I've lost a great deal of respect for Mr Rahal for the ad hominem attacks he posted above.

I went back and read the original April article linked above and all the comments. It's obvious that many posting here have lost sight of what actually happened, as well as the events stretching out over the several weeks leading up to it. In addition, Mr Schilling's site shows Mr Schultz's car right on the edge of the ditch where the workers and Mr Morris were standing only seconds before. That seems at odds with Mr Schultz's claims that he was merely in the vicinity for a photo expedition.

Seems like if there was an easement, the city would be able to provide documentation and put this to rest pretty quickly. Seeing how it has been going on for years, I expect they can't or for some reason won't provide the papers.

The infrastructure in the wollen mills was installed by the county of albremarle in the 1930s. The city doesn't know where anything is in thAT neighborhood is.

That's what I heard, too, but I didn't want to say without checking when that area annexed.

what a name - "middle Ground" you're anything but that as you continually show your contempt for Mr. Schultz's exercising his right to protect his property regardless of what you and the backhoe bubbas say. If there is an extremist view it's yours as you continue to demand his head on a platter. If you have such a god's-eye view of this situation, why not speak to your cohorts in the Ministry of Contempt and propose a solution that doesn't involve a disproportionate response like the one Mr. Schultz received. The only intimidation is clearly coming from the city not Mr. Schultz who was carried away in handcuffs. the murkiness and lack of clarity over right-of-way and easement in this case by your own admission, like your argument, need the bright sunshine of a public hearing and a discovery process to ascertain the facts, not a criminal trial, to show everyone what a sham this whole affair has been.

as for your criticism of Mr. Schultz's motives and eco-warrior ethos, at least he has friends willing to speak out against an injustice. what have you done for Charlottesville lately mr/mrs. anonymous? at least Mr. Schultz got the guts to stick his neck out for what he believes and he has harmed no one in the process. he has improved his property and the neighborhood he lives in and is proud of his efforts. criticizing him while hiding behind your posts, making snarky comments is so much easier than actually doing something yourself. you criticize Louis for inviting Rob Schilling to record the event when everybody and their mother has a camera on their phone these days - ever hear of YouTube? what's the big whoop? contributing your name and staking your reputation to a solution, that's not Environmentalism, Libertarianism, Extremism or any other kind of ism, it's the right thing to do.

@ Middle Ground - Why are you continuing to reference to a "basement to fill up with sewage". Did your basement get filled with sewage and is this your only major concern here on this post?

I will briefly go into only two LID technology Mr. Schultz has in his garden, BECAUSE this post is not about his land stewardship and design. This is about does the City have the right to use scare tactics to eliminate problems for them.

1.)Bioretention cells are dynamic, living, micro-ecological systems. They demonstrate how the landscape can be used to protect ecosystem integrity. The design of bioretention cells involves, among other things, the hydrologic cycle, nonpoint pollutant treatment, resource conservation, habitat creation, nutrient cycles, soil chemistry, horticulture, landscape architecture, and ecology; the cell thus necessarily demonstrates a multitude of benefits. The increased soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and vegetation coverage creates a more comfortable local climate. Bioretention cells can also be used to reduce problems with on-site erosion and high levels of flow energy.

2.)Soil Amendments.The combination of soil compaction and loss of organic matter has several undesirable consequences:
-With the infiltration capacity of the site significantly reduced, rainwater more quickly runs off into local streams. This, in turn, tends to increase erosion, scouring and the sediment load.
-The rate of groundwater recharge decreases.
-Due to the soil compaction and the loss of organic matter, the availability of subsurface water to plants is reduced.
-The increased volume and frequency of runoff carries pollutants with it that include pesticides, fertilizers, animal wastes and chemicals such as phosphorous and nitrogen.
Soil additives, or amendments, can be used to minimize development impacts on native soils by restoring their infiltration capacity and chemical characteristics. After soils have been amended their improved physical, biological and hydrological characteristics will make them more effective agents of stormwater management.

What does this this means to your concerns? Well, if a broken sewage line did happen and it would begin to spill out onto or in the ground near your house Mr. Schultz design and efforts would more likely save your basement from filling up (saying that you live near him and down hill from the break) then the city repair crew taking days to get out and fix the problem. These LID Urban design tools would protect you! Giving time for the over busy utility crews to get out and repair the problem in the proper manner.

It appears to me ( and I am not fluent at all on its laws as others are) that the City of Charlottesville does not have these laws in place for LID’s because they would of never of harassed him in the past and presently. They would of given him AWARDS AND CELEBRATED his efforts to protect the City’s property and to be more environmentally friendly. Neighbors would pat him on his back and join in daily in his efforts to making his neighborhood an environmentally friendly place to live.

NOW, don’t get me wrong. I personally would like to have his head on a platter. I mean it would be pretty cool as a center piece on my dining room table.

I'm picturing RS speeding to the scene, wearing a mask, cape and union suit, and carrying a video camera...

Ha Ha Rob Schilling quoted. He's the one who calls Charlottesville the "Socialist Democratic Republic". Goofy.

Louis Schultz is hardly a violent person, although it seems the city would like to see him as such. In light of the city's about face on riparian buffers, perhaps we should all see Shultz instead as forward-thinking. Perhaps the city could learn about proper land stewardship from him.

typical socialist government tactics at work here. steal from the hardworking little guy while they give give give to their cronies. money wasted on the jefferson school give away would have been more than enough to buy this property if that's what the city wants. shame on all of these officials for their failure to find a solution to this long ago.

The city won't fix the problem until Mr. Schultz sues them. That is the track record - it has happened probably more times than we know about.... Our citizen focused government only focuses on people who can work the system. It would be nice if the $20,000 that the city is spending to search for a new manager could actually find someone who has some leadership and communication skills. Maybe he/she would decide to lead instead of cower behind their office doors, afraid to admit mistakes and refusing to deal with them. They are a bunch of pansies. How about the citizenery really getting involved with the search process and insisting Council hire someone competent and willing to lead.


Yes, you are confused.

"typical socialist government tactics at work here."

A government trampling on private property rights is hardly a socialist thing. Was Bush a socialist? How about Cheney? How many individual rights and property rights did they trample on every day? Quite a few.

I wish you knee jerk right wing flakes would open a dictionary once in a while and then apply it correctly to the situation. What aout when the City refuses to maintain peace and order, and allows a couple of business owners to trample the property rights of a bunch of citizens? What do you call that?

Outside of a few items for a few Council Members, I haven't seen much socialism from them. I have seen some fascism, and abuse of power.

I have, as a rule, had good relations with the lower level individual city employees. There are exceptions, and as you move up the food chain, the level of competence seems to decline. This is not the first time they have screwed up and then tried to hide behind court actions to avoid responsibility in a case.

Something worth reviewing is if this area is a street, or an alleyway, because there are some weird rules about alleyways i the city.

As I read and learn more about this story, I think Mr. Schultz probably has some valid points. In today's world, our choice of "documentarian" strongly affects others perceptions of us. I appreciate @Middle Grounds points, and I, too question Mr. Shultz's choice of Rob Schilling. I had to work hard to take Mr. Schultz seriously after reading that he had brought that divisive character on board.

Gate Pratt wrote:

These are crucial points.

Can the City meet a criminal burden of proof? the very narrow sense...i.e. witness was scared, vehicle as possible weapon, and so forth.
However, the broader question regarding prosecutorial discretion in the matter has been raised.

It is a fact that prosecutors have broad discretion, and this prosecutor may very well argue that the facts of the case mean that it must bring a charge against Schultz.

However, doesn't it do so to its own peril, since the underlying issues are material to the dispute? Could it reasonably be claimed that the City is using its ultimate power to do something that it can't do by other legitimate means?

Since the basic facts regarding ownership and responsibility are muddied, does the public prosecutor put its office to poor use by allowing it to appear that a governmental entity [Charlottesville City] is using its police powers to intimidate a private person on a contentious issue for which the City itself is a party?

states that sewerage was threatening another property. If this is so, did the City rely on Public Health rules, or similar process in order to gain access to the disputed property?

-Without proof of ownership, or access allowed by easement, by what other right or emergency order did the City have to be on the property, or to be doing work, i.e., did it claim its right to be there through proper authority?

-If it makes such a claim, did the City follow the proper procedures on ALL points, for instance, did they have proper documents-- engineering, health, or other documents as required, describing what they were to do, in hand?

Should it be found that there is a failure in the City's chain, either in the application of policy or procedure, or if the City failed to use other appropriate means, such as access to a court of law, to secure the unequivocal right to be on that property at that time, then the charges should be dropped immediately.

Otherwise, I fear that our City would be liable for a charge of gross prosecutorial misconduct.

Sorry folks--I put brackets around what "Gate Prat wrote" which was to be the lead in to my own comments, but his comments were erased--and it makes it appear what I wrote were his words....sorry Mr. Pratt!

What Mr Pratt wrote was: It is my understanding that the basic facts in the case are still in dispute after years of debate. Who owns the land? What easements exist? What rights and obligations do the various parties have?

These are crucial questions...and from these questions my argument above flows...


There seems to be a lot of concern over whether or not Louis Schultz is correct about his rights to control what goes on within the Steep Hill Street area which is indeed legally the shared private property of all the abutting property owners. I don't see that this has much to do with the charge that has been leveled against him.
Mr. Schultz has been charged with attempting to maim or kill a city worker. I am yet another person who has known Louis Schultz for over twenty years. He is absolutely not quick tempered nor remotely given to intimidating behavior, never mind actually dangerous behavior. He is however positively stubborn and and will not back down from a position which is not properly reasoned against. This charge does not have the ring of truth to me.
Whether or not he is correct about his rights to the piece of property where the crime of which he is accused allegedly occurred has no bearing whatsoever on his guilt or innocence.It may however be that his long history of wrangling with the city to protect his personal property rights with regard to his yard and garden have earned him some enemies amongst city workers which would go far to explain how a worker might grossly over-fear Mr. Schultz by undeserved reputation created by office gossip or even explain why a worker so influenced might feel justified in grossly overstating Mr. Schultz's actions.
The charge against Louis Schultz is extremely serious. Since no disinterested parties witnessed the behavior in question it will be critical that the court consider both his utter lack of violent history and the political atmosphere in which these allegations were made. Should no more substantial evidence come to light than what already has, a conviction based on accusation only should frighten every one of us who value our right to literally
"stand our ground" in the city of Charlottesville.
As a final thought, I've noticed a lot of rude and disrespectful comments aimed at city workers. It is no more right to make such nasty comments about innocent strangers that work for the city than it is to denigrate Louis Schultz if you don't know him. Such reckless speech could have a whole lot to do with how this whole mess got started in the first place.

Since so many of Schultz's friends have posted here (at his request?), and they know so much about what happened, why have none of them answered the important question that has been raised repeatedly? Why did Schultz think that his right to stop the repair of a leaking pipe was more important than the right of his neighbors to not have a basement full of raw sewage? Is that rational, responsible, reasonable, or thoughtful? Was Mr Schultz going to repair "his" pipe himself? No, he wasn't.

There are too many different excuses and stories here, and they've changed as time went on. He was intending to do something to intimidate the workers into stopping, and asked Rob Schilling to come and film it for him. Then he was merely taking pictures. This stunt reeks of Libertarian grandstanding rather than the protest of a peaceful eco-activist. As stated above, I don't think his intent was to hurt anyone, but the law takes a dim view of someone using a car to intimidate. People could have been seriously hurt.

tom pritchett is correct. Take what is called a "paper" street, add in the jurisdictional change that occurred through annexation, and you end up with a situation that's extremely complicated. It may be very difficult to ascertain what the intent was for that street so many years afterwards. The fact is that it does have a public utility running under it. Looking at a map, whether new or old, it seems that Steephill was meant to be part of the gridded street system in the neighborhood, but was left by the wayside for whatever reason. This is the case with some other paper streets in Charlottesville. Perhaps at this point the city should just take the street, pave it, and be done with it. Or, at the very least, get the proper easements in place and proceed to repair infrastructure when needed. That's reasonable.

A functioning sewer system is overrated anyway.

No, he calls Charlottesville, the Democratic Socialist Republic. I can not believe that Dave Chapman is proceeding with this nonsense. It's time for him to go.
@So, you don't know the background on this feud the city has with Mr. Schultz. The city insists that the alley is owned by Mr. Schultz ut that he must allow te publico e i Te cityhas saidt the seer is neded by several people o the street and therefore they have a right to repair. Yet the city says that the sewer lines on everybody else's property are the responsibility of the owner to maintain and they have no right or obligation to repair the portion of the sewer that is o an individuals property. So, if, the city say the alley is private property and is probably taxed as such, how does the city have the rght to repair anything? If the city has an easement for the sewer line, then the part of that narrow alley that is under easement should be maintained by the city for the benefit of his neighbors in that area and it should be treated like publicly owned and not taxed. This is the first time I have wanted to serve on a jury.

The big, mean, bullying, liberal, sissified, city of Charlottesville.

i've known louis for a decade and a half. he is a person of extraordinary personal integrity (and specific, not general, non-violence). while he always does exactly as he says he will, the corollary is that he expects that same behavior of others. the public record shows that city of charlottesville has failed to meet that simple standard. i have walked louis's land, seen the care, thought, and hard work shaping his lovely, productive acre, and contrast that with wildly uneven record of the city's landscaping and maintenance operations....and also know that this story goes far beyond simple land stewardship. louis is no fringe wacko; he is an articulate, thoughtful, engaged, reasonable citizen. if you care about civil liberties or property rights, or just think government should be held to some basic standard of integrity, you should care how the case of louis schultz is handled.