Cismont dump owners fined $200

The couple whose long-running illegal junkyard has been keeping Albemarle officials scrambling got their day in court Wednesday, and they got out with a fine of just $200.

At issue May 28 in Albemarle General District Court were the County's claims that junkyard owners Cecil and Doris Gardner missed four deadlines to clean up their 16-acre Campbell Road property that Albemarle officials had, at various points, claimed was grandfathered.

"I've asked you the last 30 years– we've had people come [from the county]– whether we're grandfathered in," said Doris Gardner, who acted as her and her husband's own counsel, to county zoning inspector John Jones. "Does the county agree this has been going on 30 years?"

"Yes, for quite awhile," agreed Jones.

The saga of the Cismont dump started with neighbors' complaints in 1976. The debris hit the fan January 4, 2005, with a conflagration that could be seen for miles. That's when Albemarle determined that oops, the junkyard was not grandfathered after all– a ruling the county had failed to make following the great tire fire of 1984 that burned for almost two weeks.

For three years Albemarle monitored the Gardners' massive cleanup efforts, while neighbors groused that the couple had been coddled when deadlines were missed. In April 2007, the Board of Supervisors agreed to one last deadline: December 31. When inspectors visited the property January 10 and still found junk, the county filed suit.

"Although the cleanup was proceeding, the property was still a junkyard," testified Jones. "The cleanup was not complete."

According to Jones, the progress the couple has made since the county's January filing has been "amazing," but he noted that there is still material there that makes it a "junkyard."

Judge Robert Downer denied the county's request that the Gardners be fined $1,700 for four missed deadlines, instead fining them $200 for one violation on January 10. He noted that the county failed to provide Board minutes showing the supervisors had voted on a December 31 cleanup deadline. "I have no doubt it's December 31," said Downer, "but it's the county's burden of proof."

At times, the judge advised Doris Gardner on witness examination techniques after Deputy County Attorney Greg Kamptner objected that she sounded like she was testifying: "Don't ask compound questions," suggested Downer. "Keep the questions short, and don't add any facts that haven't already been brought out."

Both sides seemed pleased with the $200 fine. The Gardners declined to comment after the hearing, but their daughter, Linda Shifflett, offered some thoughts.

"We want it finished and done. We're not vindictive," she said. "We're satisfied we have a few more things to do. It's a matter of tidying.

"What we consider tidy," continued Shifflett, "may be different from what the neighbors think– and they can move."

83 comments

Funny :-)Shifflett says "We're not vindictive". She then turns right around and says the neighbors "can move". What an attitude she has. No wonder the neighbors got fed up.
Good for the judge. Great he fined them.
Hope they have learned a lesson. People who trash up their property aren't excused, in this area of the country.

$200. That's it? What a joke.

To begin with the QUESTION was do we have hard feeling with the County of Albemarle NOT THE NEIGHBORS. And my reply was we have worked with the county to come into compliance and don't harbor any hard feeling or feel vindictive towards the COUNTY. The county have been a pleasure to work with and I appreciate what they have done for us. And no I don't believe the neighbors will be happy they can't even see any part of my parents back yard. And I personally would move if I couldn't get along with my neighbors or didn't like what they have in THERE yard there is nothing vindictive/hateful/spiteful about that comment. I have a neighbor who has 2 old cars in his front yard and grass as tall as me not to mention about 20 cats but do you think I would call the county and complain NO It is not my property.

Linda, I just went back and read the old write-ups.
My God! I guess you do like the county.It looks to me, the county has made a fool of itself playing up to this family for so long. I wonder how much it has cost county taxpayers to pamper these lawbreaking people?
At least, they are now being forced to clean it up.
Is MS Gardner an attorney? Just wondering

Looks to me, they know how to work the system. What are these dump owners thinking? That they are above the law? This silly fine is not high enough. Where is the deadline now?
It does appear filing suit put a bee in their bonnet to get moving with cleanup.
I can't believe they fouled their own property. Strange behavior indeed.

Jane, Trashing your property like this is just plain stupid. The actual real estate value has certainly been deflated. No wise person would ever want to buy it, if future family members wanted to sell. My guess, the soils and land contain toxins, after all that has occured.

Who is doing the name calling now city slicker3. At least Shifflett says what she has to say and gives her name on these blogs and unlike me and you wont reveal who we are friend or foe. Did you look at the above picture. How old are these people? What is with everyone always being so critical of others. I praise the family that has helped this elderly couple clean up what the county doesn't want them to have. And I also agree if you cant get along with your neighbor you should move not create the turmoil that must be going on in this neighborhood.

It is easy to see what is going on. These people have been getting a "free ride" for 30 years!
and---everyone knows this---

Soundoff, "Being Old" doesn't give one an excuse to break the law. My guess, the neighborhood has lost all respect and patience, for those who took in trash for their own benefit, in a nice neighborhood. What they did was shameful and sickening too. It was also selfish.

Sure is funny how everywhere becomes a "nice neighborhood" after a few people pick Albemarle County as their retirement center, move in, and build $750,000 to $1,000,000 homes. I imagine the judge had this in mind when he handed down such a lenient fine.

Sick, Ok, there are property rights, but these people ran an illegal and dangerous business for over 30 years. Did they have a permit to operate the business? Obviously not.
The judge handed down a reduced fine because the county failed to provide him with the necessary paperwork. The county hurt their own mission for a stiff fine.

Were did the business part come from? I didn't read anything about this being a business nor illegal or dangerous. What are you talking about???? I didn't read anything about the county not having the necessary paperwork, were you in court? I think the judge and county did a good job to bring this to a close.

Soundoff, Wake up and attend to the facts. Others and I read in the paper they found bad stuff in the soil.
The COUNTY neglected to provide the judge with certain board of supervisors' notes. The Hook reported this on this page.
Get real. Anyone knows dump owners make money taking in garbage and trash! I wonder if these people reported earnings to the govt.?
The case is not closed. Shifflett herself says there is more work to be done.

Soundoff needs to get her facts straight.

O.K. I went back and read the article. The judge did ask in the article about deadlines "He noted that the county failed to provide Board minutes showing the supervisors had voted on a December 31 cleanup deadline. ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??I have no doubt it's December 31,¢Ã¢â??¬ said Downer, ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??but it's the county's burden of proof.¢Ã¢â??¬ I live in the county and we have trash pick up on Mondays, well as I go down the road I see a trash cantainer at about every third house. I wonder were there trash goes. Do you think the neighbors I have are making money by keeping there trash???? I read were shifflett said some tidying is left but I dont see anywhere were this case is still OPEN.

cs3 HE.....

Soundoff, I have no idea what "those absent a trash can" do with their trash. What I do know, is they won't usually foul up their own yards in dumping and burying it, as the Gardners did.
This family will be watched carefully for years to come by the govt. The land will be photographed by air too. I'm sure the neighbors will call and report them again if they see trash brought in. Everyone knows the family made money taking in trash. The good thing, it won't be allowed to happen again. My guess, these people are tired of working so hard removing the trash. It is good the authorities forced them to comply with the law.

How do you know the neighbors I have aren't dumping or burying it. I don't know that, but I do have a neighbor that burn all of his trash. How do's everyone know this family made money on taking in trash. Were did you get this info I would be interested in reading this article. I went back and read all the articles pertaining to this and everything looks to me as if it was various metals not trash. I spend 80.00 a quarter for my trash removal and alot of people cant afford that. I'm sure my garbage collectors take the trash to somebody's property somewhere and burn or bury it.

Soundoff, Your arguments and reasoning here are not making good sense. You know good and well, the authorities found dangerous materials on the Gardner property. What idiot would allow someone to haul in dangerous trash and dump it on his property for free? People saw businesses bringing in things too. Are you suggesting the Gardners allowed everyone to use their property as a dump for free? Doing so would have been plain stupid.
I went back and read the stories too. It wasn't just metals. It was thousands of tires that "happened to burn", and God know what else!
You're sure your garbage collectors dispose of trash illegally?? My, that's a serious allegation. You may be prosecuted if your trash is found on another property.
Why don't you hire another hauler?

Has anyone picked up on the similarities with regard to "grammatical errors" (Soundoff and Shifflet)? Many are wondering if they are one and the same.

My "grambar" is just fine. And I don't hide behind made up names. Were do you take your trash teacher #9? Do you burn it, bury it or let your trash hauler do it for you. Do you follow the trash truck around to see were it ends up??????

Ms. Shifflett, Now calm down. Please behave as a lady should. Your grammar is in need of "fixing", as is Soundoffs.
My trash is retrieved by a bonded and licensed company. I have no need to follow the truck. Feel free to follow your hauler, as you see fit.
By the way, It is: Where do you take your trash?
And NOT: Were do you take your trash?
Have a good day.

Teach, who really cares what name is displayed on any reply?

Even George Bush does not have a firm grip on the English language. He can't even pronounce words like "subliminal". Probably can't spell it either.

Paranoia is not an attractive trait.

Count me out in your estimate of "many" wondering who uses multiple names here please. It's just the Internet.

Have you heard the news/latest research? Being too close to dumps can cause a disease. It is called "dumpitis". One of the symptoms: poor grammar. Let's hope the docs find a fast cure.

SOTLR, I find the similarities interesting "on this one". I certainly don't care what name is displayed. The more posted, the better! :---)))

Sick The teacher was merely pointing out errors a third grader should avoid. Shifflett should go back to school after the dump is sorted out.

It is unfortunate common sense isn't present in us all. The $200 fine has got to be a joke. right? people pay more for speeding tickets. lol If these people bought their land and respect it, they wouldn't make it into a dump and breeding ground for mosquitos. The county is lame in not providing a decision what constitutes a dump. Maybe they will hire more county attorneys and to get up to speed since they are lacking so far.

If the junkyard couple want to trash their land because they don't appreciate it then maybe they should build a barn or outbuilding to store their and other's crap. I view people who trash their land for profit as low-life's.
If you own it, take care of it or get rid of it if you don't know how.

I'm not upset at all. Allied Waste picks-up my trash and I pay $77.57. I don't know if they are bonded and licensed or WERE they take my trash but I'm sure you can check this out for me. You have a good day also.

Truth in lies, AMEN! You are very wise. What a stupid thing to do in trashing your own property. It really is sick. No wonder the neighbors are tired of their antics. They have shown no respect toward others. Their mission was completely selfish.
Notice how they blame others for their own predicament. That comes out loud and strong!

I have a question for Linda Shifflett. Linda, for what reason did your parents operate a dump? Can you fill us in? They must have had some motivation or reason for accepting waste products from others.

JOC, I don't believe Shifflett wants to answer your question. My guess, the real truth coming out, would be too embarrassing for her.

How did all of those fires begin? Scary

Are rats running around on this land? I can't help but ask.

The county ruled them grandfathered in 1976 and twenty years later changed their mind. The county shoukd have to pay to haul anything that was put their after 1976.

If it were my property I would clean it up and then follow the proper zoning laws and put the maximum number of smelly pigs on the property and then let the neighbors who complain call the county about their ruined barbecues.

In California it is no longer legal to barbecue outdoors. Where does it end?

From what I hear, the neighbors wouldn't mind any type of farming,including the raising of pigs.
The neighbors just don't like trash and my guess they don't like the owners either.

Actually, the human deeds that took place here are at least as bad as pig habits. It is hard to believe people would stoop to foul their nice property as they did.

appleseed,
are the common wild fires in CA the reason for the restrictions?
just curious.

Truth In Lies, You can check with the Department Of Forestry/California. They will be happy to answer your question.

What remains to be cleaned up? Will the county inspect the property at a time of closure?

Johnny: You really need to read the whole story before posting your opinion. BBQing is not at all illegal. What IS illegal is BBQing in an apartment complex that has wooden decks. Single family homes, duplexes (that do have wooden decks) and apartments that have non flammable decks aren't included in the law. Apartment owners got tired of having their properties torched by morons who endanger the lives and property of other tenants b/c they're too stupid to reason that grilling on a wooden deck mightn't be the sharpest thing to do. You wouldn't BBQ in your living room would you? It's like wearing blaze orange during hunting season. If you're too stupid to immediately understand why you should wear blaze orange while hunting then you need to be told. Same deal there.

slicker,
why would i need to check when i presumed appleseed mentioned CA bbq knowing the facts? :/

The County has conceded that the property is more than 99% cleaned up. The Virginia DEQ tested the soil and water in mid-2007 extensively and found no toxins. The "junk" that was on the property was almost entirely recyclable metal (that has now been recycled). The "junk" that remains on the property is nothing more than is on any other farm in the county - older tractors and other farm implements, completely usable construction materials, etc...

The Gardners are not harming their in any way whatsoever - despite the continued misstatements by a number of neighbors (some of who don't even live in Cismont anymore but apparently have nothing better to do than stir up trouble). If neighbors in the community want to live in a subdivision with a host of covenants and restrictions that restrict such things as the color of one's house and whether you can have more than two cars, well perhaps those subdivisions might suit them better? Glenmore, Farmington, and Forest Lakes all have a number of houses available for sale and it's a buyer's market.

That people to move into an agricultural community, build a gaudy McMansion and then start complaining about the fact that the community they moved to is agricultural is both unprincipled and unfair to the people who've lived there for decades who they would like to push out.

Truthin lies,seems you should have looked to answers other than appleseeds. Cletus has figured this out.
And Erik, You are incorrect. DEQ certainly did ID soil abnormalities in the testing. They did find certain toxins. It was reported in the press.
I don't blame people for complaining. They may find something from the dump in their drinking water at some point. If not for folks raising a stink, the county would have continued to let them operate their filthy illegal business. Good job neighbors! You are the winners because you demanded compliance. Erik,Maybe the gardners will sell you some property. Something tells me you would fit in with them just fine. Maybe they will give you an ugly old tractor too.

Erik, So it sounds like they need to build a barn to protect this valuable stuff and the neighbors wont complain since it will be out of site....sounds good to me.

It is too bad the county dragged their butts this long with this issue.

The county says it is 99% finished. The county is a joke. From what I hear, they have been spouting off unreliable and false figures in this case. Their so called deadlines are never held to. When is the new final deadline?

Erik, do you work for the county?

Interesting...Erik appears to close to the situation, in some manner. He certainly is protective of those who lean toward trashy practices.

jolted, You have alot of hard feeling regarding the county, why do you feel they are a joke. The neighbors wanted action and forced the county to seek civil action. What do you want done? Have the land owners hung from a tree.

Amused, the county made a fool of itself here, all along the way.
Yes, it is the pushy neighbors and the press who got the ball rolling. Good job to them too. The Gardners were forced to follow the law by the press and the neighbors. The neighbors don't care that the Gardners are annoyed with them either. From what I have heard, the neighbors ignore them.

The county made a big mistake in court when they failed to bring in the associated BOS minutes. It makes one wonder who was sleeping on the job.
ONE MISTAKE AFTER ANOTHER with this case. The actual costs must be tremendous.

Sounds to me it the other way around. The Gardners don't care that the neighbors are annoyed with them. I'm glad the family is standing up after all who own's the property. I'm sure the Gardners wouldn't mind the neighbors or the county telling them what they can and can't have as long as one or the other pays the real estate taxes.

Amused, The Gardners by their illegal actions, are viewed as uncaring inconsiderate neighbors. They have shown no respect to the neighborhood, as they trashed the surroundings.
The neighbors just don't want to associate with them, from what I hear. Most people in the community have better neighbors to associate with. They just don't care that the Gardners are put out with them.

So sad. I'm sure that the neighborhood is divided but I would put my money on the Gardners side. From what I've heard they have more neighbors behind them. I'm sure mostly the blue collar poorer neighbors not the snoots that think they are better than the Gardners. Anyway jolted go blog yourself your getting old....

Amused, so sorry i got under your skin. FYI, i hear they hang with those who defend them. They aint the more progressive or enlightened types.

quote: "Anyway jolted, go blog yourself..."

I'm not going to take sides here....

... but that's damn funny! Touche!

OK, everybody play nice now!!

It is their land. If they want to become art collectors and collect anything that does not affect the air or water then the neighbors and the county can go to hell. They should just incorporate as "art out of place two" and place it all over their property where EVERYBODY can see it. You are not owed a pretty view when you buy a house. You only own to the property line.

It's about time someone asked the Environmental Protection Agency to check this property for toxic spills and poisoned soil. They are certain to be there after all these years of irresponsible dumping. Who knows what's being inflicted on the kids downstream in the water table. This property could be contaminating every water well within miles. Is it really fair for the next owner of the property to have to pay for clean-up? That should be THIS owner's obligation.

It's about time to dissolve the EPA and several dozen other useless agencies.

And I second the pigs, bring in the pigs! If its not a business and not commercial zoning, then envoke your right to farm and bring in lots of smelly pigs!

Broadway Tittle, You are wise indeed. These landwreckers have put others in jeopardy for the future. No telling what will show up in the streams. Those neighbors will be checking out the stream that the kids play in. Putting junk on your property is one thing, but fouling others water is quite another.
Future lawsuit??? You know what they say.. you can run, but you can't hide for long.

jolted
From what I understand about the law, as someone later finds a linked seepage on their property, these people will be in a heap of trouble. It may take a while, but it could happen. As we read earlier, DEQ had identified suspicious material. It will not be difficult to tie it to the site as it migrates either.

I hope your neighbors look at your yard and call code enforcement on your peeling paint, loose gutters or crack in the sidewalk. when the govt crawls up your butt with a microscope you will be sorry.

As stated earlier DEQ had tested extensively and no toxins were found. If only you would read and comment on the facts and stop making false statements. Are you a expert in the environmental field if not shut the hell up.

The wells have been tested so many times in the area I have lost count. Only 2 neighbors in the area are trying to keep this going and 1 has moved to the City of Charlottesville (I sure do feel for her new neighbors). The other remaining neighbors have no problem with this family. Its their property and I cant see a damn thing when I drive by everyday except for some antique tractors and wagon wheels at the driveway. It's about time someone at the county to tell these spiteful neighbors to shut up.

sounds like broadway knows what hes talking about.
Assume, we all read in the press that toxins WERE found. So who is spouting off falsehoods? The DEQ reports are also available for anyone to review.

cismontneighbor and company, Oh, are you something else. Sounds like you and the family are nervous and defensive.What are you talking about? People other than you have a right to an opinion, so get over it. The neighbors have the law on their side. You sound like family to me too!
If I were neighbors, I would be afraid. You sound angry and spiteful to me.
Watch your back. I sense a bully here!
Why don't you just tell who your bad neighbors are? You're not as brave as you act. You sound desparate and ridiculous. My guess is you don't have many close friends nearby. Who are you trying to fool?

Funny how people who break the law make excuses to justify their actions! They even try to put the blame on their neighbors. HAAA

I am not spiteful/desparate/ridiculous or a fool. Who do you think is commenting you jolted. All the goood neighbors have gotten together because we are tired of hearing from 1. Tag your it.

cismontneighbor, just curious, what neighbors are helping you? Maybe they don't want their names mentioned. You said 2 neighbors were bothering you before. Get your story straight. Your imagination has gone wild. Tag your it?? Now I know something is out of whack.
By the way, you say you are not all of those things. Then why do you act in those ways? I'll add one more. You are boring us
Take a nap

Can you read or what. I said ONLY 2 NEIGHBORS IN THE AREA HAVE BEEN TRYING TO KEEP THIS GOING AND 1 HAS MOVED. 2 - 1 = 1. The friendly cismont neighbors will be glad to meet up for a cook out on the gardner's property. Let me know if you like to attend. As far as mentioning names that's the pot calling the kettle black as the saying goes. Your not bored you just love for someone to comment so you can slam em'.

If this filth eventually enters someone elses property or water, the landowner would most likely take on a costly court battle.I just checked the DEQ record of findings, for the property.If I were them I would close my mouth and worry.

These people have burned their bridges so to say, as far as making friends. The neighbors I know aren't planning to accept an invitation for a cookout in the dump. The issue that stands out, they don't appear to be remorseful or appologetic in the slightest way. In fact, I hear they have behaved inappropriately to any and all who have opposed their illegal moves. Some in the family act as if they are above the law.
Are they kidding? The county isn't going to shut up the neighbors. I would like to ask cismontneighbor to explain exactly what she means in that those who have complained have done her wrong. I attended the first public meeting. There must have been 300 people in opposition. Were they all wrong? I think NOT.

I also attended the meeting because a friend of a friend had mentioned it and wanted as many people to come as possible. This was a joke in my opinion. Most of the people there were mislead into thinking we had a ivy landfill in our backyard and this was proven to me and many others that was not true. Even one of the ring leaders husbands made a comment about it that all. I try to be friends with all my neighbors on both sides of the tracks but I can attest that certain ones I wouldn't tell anything I didn't want to go any further.

Clarktrackrd, happy you were able to attend. As I remember, the first meeting was years ago, and before DEQ performed some basic and surfaced-based testing. Levels-chemicals, out of range, for the area soils were later flagged. We probably don't know the entire story yet.
If you live on clarks tract you won't have to worry. Those who are directly down stream from the Cismont landfill just can't rest easy.
I know the meeting prompted many to extend valuable support. The meeting also made the county jump, as they should have. Sorry you don't appear to relate to the concerns of others for suspicious findings-assessment. You would feel differently if your horses were drinking from a creek, downwind from a dump.

clarktracked. What does your comment in regard to someone "repeating something" have to do with this issue? Perhaps explain, as it doesn't make good sense. My initial advise is for you to guard your words more carefully. the bloggers can't solve your problem.

I hardly constitute what I have seen and heard as a dump. I would however suggest you read thoroughbread times your horses should not be drinking from a creek.

clarktracked It was the county and DEQ who led and controlled this meeting. If you were duped, take it up with them, not the concerned neighbors.
If I were you, I wouldn't be so sure all is truly well- comtamination. Time will tell.

clarktracked You must have blinders on. Give them to your horse.
I hear the dump owners are having a cookout. My advice, you may want to attend.
By the way, My pet drinks bottled water.

clarktrackrd The DEQ findings are suspicious and somewhat alarming. I would suggest your checking them out. You may not know enough of the facts witout doing so. The lab found benzene and arsenic compounds in topical testing. What lies beneath? That is the real question. There is just too much there. I also know the government agencies tend to make light of such information. I trust the neighborhood hired an attorney.

LOL! You people don't actually think you own your house or your property do you!?

AS is obvious, one can easily see, some are in denial of the reality/seriousness of circumstances. Some do not want to admit this happened for so long in the upscale Keswick area. Some would prefer the dump never be mentioned for possible loss in property value. Some are fearful the landowners will confront them as they express negative views. Some are protective of the county position, even as they allowed the people to trash the neighborhood. The testing has revealed problems that should be further addressed, and before someone finds toxins on neighboring property. This is an uncomfortable situation, but one that should be fully explored before burying under the rug.

The best SOLUTION: Do better and more comprehensive testing. Go deeper. If all is found to be ok in the deep, people will then be content to move on.

Hello All-
It sounds to me that since the neighbors are so upset with the land owners and county they should take this to court themselves. Since Keswick is a pretty wealthy area I don't think legal fees would hurt those who are consumed with this matter.

It seems that there are many different stories. Some are saying DEQ found nothing and some are saying others should worry according to their findings. I can only wonder if this was the case with many other details surrounding this issue.

For example, how would you feel if you thought something you were doing was grandfathered and had been told so by your county officials-Then 20 years later they said a mistake had been made?

I for one would be very upset. It sounds like the family has become closer and have done a wonderful job to clean up what they have. I personally would have refused and would have taken the county to court for wrongful doings.

Another thing that I have noticed is how people are pointing out spelling errors to others. I don't understand that and I find it being childish. It makes me wonder if teacher #9 is really a teacher. If so, I wonder what her student's parents and colleagues would think of his/her actions. I would question someone higher up if my sons teacher acted in such a professional way-even if it was done during their own time.

In closing, I am not trying to be negative to anyone. I make it a point to state my opinion in an appropriate way when issues arrive that grasp my attention. All in all, if the neighbors are THAT upset, take it to court but be cautious, it sounds like the Shifflett lady knows her stuff. I heard from a friend of someone that attended the hearing that the county was shocked at her expertise and it was her that won the case.

IN SHOCK,sounds like all you "dump huggers" have created your own Shifflett fan club! We're laughing all the way now. If the family thinks they know it all and can prove the county is incorrect, then why don't they take the county to court? This Shifflett woman doesn't impress anyone, as I read here. My guess the county group was pulling your leg when they complimented her "expertise".
Are you kidding? Teachers have freedom of speech and can say what they want to, on their own time. The teacher was just being accurate and honest. The errors in grammar are atrocious.
My advice, buy her a dictionary. I just can't see Shifflett being awarded a prize for her skill in court. After all, the judge did cast a fine. TOO funny