BOS to consider grass ordinance

news-overgrown-grassThe Albemarle Board of Supervisors has requested an ordinance that would require unkempt grass at unoccupied dwellings in the urban ring to be cut. A draft of the ordinance goes to the Board September 2, according to Amelia McCulley in zoning. Supe Sally Thomas says she doesn't favor an ordinance, but Dennis Rooker says he's gotten complaints about overgrown grass and the varmints that take up residence at abandoned properties at locations like East Rio Road and entrance corridors. (The uncut grass photographed at University Grille is in the city, which has its own mow law.)


Whomever owns them, I wish they'd keep up the yards, or bulldoze the houses, remove the rubble, and let the site go back to nature.

Well, Bob, IMHO the worst eyesore is the property I am speaking of. Looks like Dunlora South LLC needs to step up the plate and do something. Or if Albemarle County, DEA, or whoever is leasing the property for a cop SWAT training facility, maybe they need to do some groundskeeping?

A friend of mine lives a few doors away. He was always speaking of making a fortune on his property when VDOT would finally buy his home to put a new highway cloverleaf in. This puzzles me now. Was the cloverleaf moved more in a westerly direction at some point? It looks like the Tech Center and several churches are going to be right in the middle of whatever they are building. I can hardly wait to see the finished product.

I don't see how all of that is going to coexist together in such a small area of Rio Road. Major traffic intersection, churches, Tech Center, and you're right, the entrance road to Belvedere. And of course the entrance to Dunlora is right there too. I hope they have some magic up their sleeves. :)

I don't know why all those houses on Rio Road are empty and boarded up. But I do know they've been empty and boarded up for many years. So if someone has/had some sort of plan for keeping them empty and boarded up- they should at least keep them from being an eyesore.

The old white house that sits 300 or 400 hundred feet behind the large brick house?

If so, and come to think of it, I was also told recently that the large brick house boarded up on the large lot is now used by law enforcement as a SWAT type training facility. It used to belong to O'Neill Smith, and then of course his widow when he passed away? I assume the children inherited it after both of them had passed away. And VDOT might have bought if from the children?

Some people claim it's a major traffic hazard now when SWAT is in training, because of all the rubbernecking from motorists when they see cop cars parked there. I don't recall seeing a bunch of cop cars there but maybe once in the last 12 months myself. It wasn't a traffic hazard so to speak, but traffic had slowed to a crawl with everybody looking to see what was going on.

Bob, I think they now belong to VDOT. They were purchased many years ago for the road expansion that never took place. Something about a cloverleaf interchange needed the land.

If this is correct, VDOT should maintain the lawns.

One of those houses came down, the white barn style house with the black roof. There's just a backhoe sitting in the yard now. Maybe the other two will follow and they'll just go back to nature.


Is that the house that has the tarps hung up all over the yard? I've definitely rubbernecked it a time or two, and never made an ounce of sense of what's happening.

The white house I'm talking about was on the right side of the road if you're heading downtown and was very visible from the road. The house you're talking about would be on the left, no?

Vdot does not own them. The county of albemarle does and all the abandoned houses on E rio road used to be crack houses. My cousin is a DEA agent. They cleared all them and made the county buy them and then swat uses the brick and the white one for training. The ones on the right are all to be domolished before next year. I've noticed a few already have. Vdot does not own them and there's not going to be any cloverleaf interchange. The only new interchange to be built is at mcintire and 250. The tarps hung are for security while they're training. They're supposed to park the swat vans and all that behind them so they're not visible but that never happens. I think my cousin told me they were going to buy the land and build a facility there but idk about that.

Boy, I just don't get some people-- "varmints?" They're animals, and they're not hurting any of the idiotic homeowners around there.

Seriously, when you see a possum or wood rat, you don't have to call the county. I would, however, appreciate your sending out an alarm if you see any AIG executives headed in that direction so I have time to grab my shotgun.

quote: "Vdot does not own them. The county of albemarle does and all the abandoned houses on E rio road used to be crack houses. My cousin is a DEA agent. They cleared all them and made the county buy them and then swat uses the brick and the white one for training."

Who told you that foolishness? Your DEA cousin?

The property used by the cop SWAT team, where Mr. and Mrs. O'neill Smith & family lived a few decades ago, is 787 East Rio Road. It is 8+ acres. The secondary address for the house behind it is 789. One of their sons, Roland Smith,lived there.

I thought VDOT had bought it, but it is currently owned by Dunlora South LLC according to the Albemarle County tax records.

OK, it you're on Rio Road and heading towards town, you have just passed the Technical Education Center on the right, go thru a curve to the right and another curve to the left.... it's the 2 story large brick home on the left. All the windows and doors are boarded up. There was a white house behind it that one of the Smith sons used to live in.

I have never noticed the tarps hung out in the yard. They could be there, but I have never noticed.

The tech center, Several Churches, AND the currently stalled Belvedere Development.

Another grand case of poor local highway traffic planning. Rio Road and 29 all over, but with a lot less space. And no opportunity for future road widening (not that that solved anything in the first place- but since that was the BoS solution for the problem in that corridor for such a long time).

Leaving aside the aesthetics issue of unmowed areas, what I found upsetting was the reference to "varmints." I like that these areas are providing habitat for wildlife. In fact, I wish there was a lot less mowing being done in areas where there is no need to. Out on Pantops there are large field areas, no structures nearby, but yet they are mowed to golf course height. No sense in that, wildlife habitat destroyed and more fuel wasted , more hydrocarbon pollution. I have often thought that one advantage of higher gas prices might be it would discourage people from having those huge,ecologically useless lawns.
Unfortunately, the "varmints " we have to worry about around here are mostly of the two-legged variety.