City won't enforce law

I was pleased to see your recent article about erosion problems at developments near the Rivanna [July 14: "Wash out: New developments raise mud and ire"]. I was not pleased to see my name associated with a statement that I neither made nor agree with.

It is perfectly possible to develop in an environmentally sustainable way. I'm soon to return to architecture school with precisely that aim in mind.

The developers of the River's Edge project have made mistakes, but I don't doubt their commitment to sustainability. I don't object to the project or have any suggestions for changes. If I did, I would take them directly to the developers, some of whom are my neighbors.

The RiverBluff development made one hell of a mess this spring. The entire perimeter of the project bordering the park and river was a poorly controlled disaster which spilled mud either directly into the wetlands below it or into the Rivanna River.

The city's Water Protections Ordinance is essentially worthless. The law itself is great. The problem is that the ridiculously inept Department of Neighborhood Development Services (NDS) is in charge of enforcing it.

The recent power outages were caused by wind damage to trees, not flooding. The creek in my yard hardly rose.

And Jim Tolbert's excuse for his department's failures is absurd. Neither of the two development projects have adequate silt control measures in place. It's NDS's responsibility to ensure that they do.

I have regularly fought NDS to preserve the "rain garden" that I have spent six years establishing in my yard. The ignorance they've displayed regarding that and their flat-out refusal to obey the law is astounding. Zoning administrator Ashley Cooper has refused for months to act against illegal "erosion impact areas" that constantly choke my creek. It's time for regime change in Charlottesville. The health of the watershed depends upon it.

Louis Schultz
Charlottesville
flexy41@earthlink.net