Charlottesville Breaking News

Preservationists 'speechless': Pre-permit Ingleside demolition raises ire

It sounds like a joke.

"I tell ya, the county's historic preservation codes are so weak," the comedian says, "you can apply for a demo permit after you've demolished your old house." Bada-boom!

But it's no joke. 

Recently, when County historic resources planner Margaret Maliszewski received a demolition permit for the house at Ingleside Farm on Garth Road, she wanted to save or at least document the two-story, circa 1938 structure that had been mostly recently renovated by renowned local architect Floyd Johnson. When Maliszewski called the contractor to confer about what she thought was an upcoming demolition, she was informed that the house had already been taken down.

"We estimate that two or three buildings were demolished in the past two years before the permit was approved," says Maliszewski.

And those are the ones they know about.

"We have no system for tracking the number of buildings that are demolished without permits," she says. 

The County's Historic Preservation Committee supports the documentation of historic structures prior to demolition, and tries to do as many as they can each year, but when property owners choose to demo places on their own, there's little the County can do. 

"The Committee was speechless upon learning of its demise," says committee member Steven Meeks of the Ingleside farmhouse, "because we had no opportunity to document the structure before it was destroye...

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Case not closed: Special prosecutor named in Crozet murders

New allegations and a pending a clemency petition have prompted the naming of a special prosecutor in the case of Robert Davis, currently jailed for a 2003 double murder in Crozet that he (as well as one of those convicted in the homicides) is saying that he didn't commit.

Davis, 27, has been imprisoned since a couple of days after that horrific night in February 2003 when Nola Annette Charles, who was beaten and stabbed to death, and her toddler son, Thomas, died of smoke inhalation in the fire set to cover up the crime.

Davis' attorney, Steve Rosenfield, maintains that police coerced the then 18-year-old Davis into making a false confession after a five-hour, middle-of-the-night interrogation in which the Western Albemarle High School student said dozens of times that he wasn't involved.

Davis had been implicated by two Cling Lane neighborhood siblings, 19-year-old Rocky and 15-year-old Jessica Fugett, both of whom were convicted and currently are in state prison serving 75- and 100-year sentences, respectively. Jessica Fugett has admitted knifing Charles.

In 2004, Davis entered an Alford plea, which recognizes the prosecution has enough evidence to convict but the defendant does not admit guilt. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

In 2006, Rocky Fugett contacted Rosenfield and recanted his previous statements that Davis was...

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Dodd-Frank: Wanna make a $54K down payment?

There’s a big buzz these days in the real estate blogosphere about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law last July. Including 16 titles that address everything from the regulation of hedge funds to the Federal Reserve System, Dodd-Frank has been described as the most sweeping change in financial regulations since the Great Depression. While few seem to disagree that the intent behind the legislation is indeed to offer protection to the consumer, many in the real estate community are concerned about the proposed rule that was released March 29 regarding Qualified Residential Mortgages (QRMs).

And just what is a QRM? 

In an effort to shield borrowers from unscrupulous lending practices, Dodd-Frank requires lenders that securitize mortgage loans to retain 5 percent of the credit risk unless the mortgage is exempt. The logic behind this seems solid: if lenders have to retain a portion of the risk, they’ll be less likely to originate shaky loans, right?

FHA loans, which currently require a 3.5 percent down payment, are exempt, as are QRMs, which must meet the following criteria: 


• The loan must be for an owner-occupied property, not an investment.
• The borrower must have no judgments, defaults, or bankruptcies for three years prior to application and must ha...

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The Hook presents: A Restaurant Week guide to summer entertaining



It never truly feels like summer until you throw (or attend) that first al fresco cocktail party; whether you look forward to the tasty and fruity cocktails or the delicious hors d'oeuvres to nibble on, summer entertaining is generally the highlight of the season.

Just throwing together a few friends, lawn games, and beer in your back yard? Don't be afraid to serve restaurant-quality munchies for your guests to graze on. Summer 2011 is all about spoiling your palate with pops of flavor, color, and class. The Hook asks our favorite restaurateurs– with some of the best patios and outdoor eateries in town– to plot the perfect cocktail party menu for any summer soiree.


 


 


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Rock Hill forever: Charlottesville's not-so-secret gardens

Forget about the impending Meadowcreek Parkway and the 250 Interchange project for a minute, as well as the fabulous history of the nearby eight-acre Rock Hill estate, once the site of a circa-1820 two-story Federal style house (which, thanks to a mischievous youngster, burned down in 1963). Forget that famed architect Eugene Bradbury once called it home, and that the Rev. Henry Alford Porter, minister of Charlottesville’s First Baptist Church (Park Street), who bought the place in the 1930s, created the extensive rock gardens that one UVA architectural historian has called the "most complex residential garden landscapes in all of Charlottesville."

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