Monday, August 28, 2006


South of the CSX tracks, near the intersection of Carlton Avenue and Carlton Road. Industrial for a century. What was known locally as the "bark mill" was located here. Also known as the extract plant. There was something in ailanthus bark that had a commercial use. Beats me. Special new-age scent? Tree of Heaven musk aroma? Think of the Olfactory cocktail that would be rendered by joining Tree of heaven and bio-solid aromas!
P.S.- RWSA odor hotline people. Who cut the cheese? I've have failed to call you and share that the ammoniac cloud has visited the Woolen Mills on a very regular basis. In portions of the neighborhood everyday. The bouquet is more complex than usual. In addition to the stench of the compost we are getting a healthy dose of the settling ponds "raw sewage smell". Is everything ok down there?

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Blogger Doolittle said...

Yeah, what's up with that smell? It's not just the Woolen Mills, you know. It's here in Belmont/Carlton, downtown, and the MJH neighborhood too.

What I'm wondering is how the people building the new housing complexes are going to cope with this? Habitat for Humanity is building a complex at the Sunrise Trailer court. That's a block away from the sewage plant and it reeks there more often than not. All the fancy award-winning design can't cover up the stink.

In our neighborhood, there's the new Linden Town Lofts-- do the people buying those units know what the smell is like? Does the sales team tell them about it? Is it part of their marketing?

And what about the high-dollar River Bluff and Rivers Edge developments by the park? How much can you charge for a fancy house when the neighborhood smells like a sewer?

Why has this been allowed to go on for so long?

Blogger &rew said...

Perhaps it's got to do with something that we all do--if we're healthy we do it at least once a day. ;-)

Mr. Emory, we met once at a a Photo Arts opening or slide show (?) that you gave--probably in 2000 or 2001. I've since graduated from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC, and am now working at a gallery up here. But I'm of Albemarle, my family history there runs back to the 1600s. My senior thesis work was based in growth/development frustration with said county. If you have a moment I invite you to check out my insignificant little blog at for a quick gander at my trifling digi-pix. The mp3 from your White House guard adventure has often found its way into my party shuffle on my iTunes. I too have found that sort of Brazil/Catch-22 BS very frustrating during my time up here in DC.

Anyway. I enjoy your photos. Thanks.

-Andrew Bain

Blogger emory said...

Doo-little? Why has it been allowed to go on for so long? Well, cast your mind back to 1958-

January 21, 1958
Sewage plant at Moore?s Creek bond issue offered.

February 23, 1958. Council votes to accept Federal dollars for sewerage treatment plant under 33 USC 466 Et Seq.
They talk a bit about the subdivision ordinance.
They vote to go into executive session

April 7, 1958
Abstract of the Votes cast regarding Moore?s Creek bond issue, 218 voted for forty one voted against (special election held 3/18/1958, PG 279).

Don't know who exactly voted to put the Big Potty where it is.

But look here. We are not talking about Farmington, we are talking about East Belmont-Carlton. Sure, there are a lot of influential Young Urban Professionals livng in "Downtown Belmont" now but that population didn't live in East Belmont-Carlton in 1958. In East B-C there were working people. The City doesn't have a history I can point to of supporting the "working peoples'" neighborhoods. That part of Belmont Carlton was, in 1958, still in Albemarle County. But the City had other plans, annexation plans.

Just weeks earlier, in 1958, five years before the City took their next big Bite out of Albemarle County they accomplished the following:

January 6, 1958- City Council Meeting.
Mr A.C.Coleman, R.M.Davis, Thomas.J. Michie, Louie.L. Scribner and Sol.B. Weinberg present.

Mr David J Wood addressed council, presented ?the Workable Program for Urban Renewal? as prepared by Harland Bartholomew and Associates.

An ordinance entitled ?An ordinance amending and re-enacting the code of the City of Charlottesville of 1945 by the addition thereto of a new chapter numbered 35 and entitled ?Regulations governing the subdivision of land within the corporate limits and within three miles of the City of Charlottesville?and replacing section 1 through 5, inclusive of the subdivision regulations, which are part of chapter 33, Code of the City of Charlottesville 1945 entitled ?Zoning?? was offered by Mr.Scribner, seconded by Mr. Weinberg, and carried over to the next meeting for consideration.

What is that? That is the law that they used to shank the working people. That is a party invitation to every absentee landlord multifamily dwelling builder in the central Virginia region to warm up the bulldozer engines. That is the birth-certificate of much of the substandard "slum-lord" housing that now peppers vast portions of Charlottesville.

One bright spot in all this. In the 1990's, much more enlightened forces in the City looked at the R2 zoning imposed under these unsavory conditions and they downzoned thousands of lots to "R1A". However, they didn't address other Urban Renewal zoning. Specifically, they failed to remove "Manufacturing" zoning designations put in place in working class neighborhoods on historically residential land.

Again, this would never happen in Farmington, or for that matter, on Locust Avenue. Who is the RWSA going to worry about? All those big beautiful Biscuit Run houses or people who live near the disposal plant.

Blogger Doolittle said...

But where's the outrage from the citizens? This "world-class city" smells like shit and ammonia. Where is the city council, where are the county supervisors? They must know about this. Hell, anybody that travels on I-64 and Rte 20 has smelled it.

Look at the RWSA website and see who is on the board: Mike Gaffney (developer), Judith Mueller (C'ville public works), Gary O'Connell (C'ville city manager), Robert Tucker (Albemarle county supervisor), Gary Fern (water authority). These clowns know about this problem and haven't fixed it yet? People who have lived around here a long time say it been going on for many years.

Also, anything that smells that bad can't be good for you. Are there pathogens involved? It puts out a strong ammonia smell, and that can't be a good thing.

The old timers say they stopped complaining a long time ago because they were ignored. I know our calls have always been ignored. What do you suggest we do now?

Blogger emory said...


Alas I have no surefire suggestions. It is a strange double-standard. According to Virginia state code, if I wanted to run a business that composted tree leaves, you know, strictly vegetative matter, it would have to be located at least 1,000 feet away from the nearest residential property, the nearest house.

It seems that the people that make the rules need not abide by them. The RWSA composting facility is closer than 1,000 feet to homes in the Woolen Mills.



P.S. I haven't met those people you listed as RWSA board members other than Bob Tucker. He struck me as a very intelligent and responsive individual, definitely not someone to characterize as a clown. Get the people in your neighborhood to write the RWSA board of directors, attend the RWSA board meetings.


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