Park & Hide: DTM Parking Dispute Gets Personal

about-us-544x348What started out as a discussion to improve the parking situation on the DTM appears now to have turned into an episode of Game of Thrones, complete with threats of government seizure, and talk of bullying and personal vendettas. So, what the heck is going on?

“As a rule,” says Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signor, responding to questions about the on-going legal battle between the City and Water Street Parking Garage owner Mark Brown, “I don’t comment to the press on litigation.”

However, the high-powered Richmond attorney doing the actual litigation for the City doesn’t appear to follow the same rule.

“For months Mark Brown has been trying to bully the City into giving him control of the Water Street Parking Garage,” Tom Wolf with LeClairRyan told Cville Weekly. “He has even threatened to close down the garage, which he has no power or authority to do. Mr. Brown’s first lawsuit was meritless and this new one is a transparent attempt at further bullying. The City is not intimidated by Mr. Brown’s threats.”

Wolf went on to claim he’s representing the City at a discounted rate because he “loves litigating against bullies” like Mr. Brown.

In addition to Mayor Signer, The DTM asked other City Councilors, City Manager Maurice Jones, and City Attorney Craig Brown if they agreed with Mr. Wolf’s characterization of Mr. Brown and the situation. And why the city has seen fit to threaten the use of eminent domain to take over the Water Street Garage.

“The City of Charlottesville does not provide comment related to litigation,” responded Miriam Dickler, the City’s director of communications.

City Councilor Bob Fenwick does, though. “Tom Wolf has a right to say what he wants,” he says.

“Mark Brown may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the claim by the City’s attorney that Mark has been bullying the City of Charlottesville, or is even in a position to bully the City of Charlottesville, is silly and melodramatic,” says Dave Norris, the former Charlottesville City Mayor who now manages the Charlottesville Parking Center.

Indeed, considering that Brown’s company has 19 employees and an annual budget of $3 million, while the City has 940 employees and annual budget of $160 million, some might wonder who the real bully is here.

“The City’s heavy-handed threat to use eminent domain against Charlottesville Parking Center and spend many millions of dollars to seize CPC’s assets is an egregious abuse of governmental authority – and a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars, as it will not add a single space to the inventory of downtown parking,” says Norris. “Threatening eminent domain to resolve a pricing dispute with someone you don’t care for is not a rational or helpful strategy – but then, personal vendettas rarely are.”

Well, this ought to end well.

Meanwhile, as the lawyers on both sides cash in, and the City commissions studies and transfers $500,000 from the capital improvement program contingency account to create a new “Parking Division” branch of local government, parking downtown is still perceived as a pain in the ass to visitors and DTM businesses and employees alike.

The two sides will go at it in Charlottesville Circuit Court on June 27 at 3pm. See you there!

Related stories:

City lawyer: Condemnation of Water Street Garage has begun

City lawyer: Condemnation of Water Street Garage has begun

Escalation clause: City threatens eminent domain of Water Street Garage

Escalation clause: City threatens eminent domain of Water Street Garage

City, CPC circle around Water St. garage offers

Charlottesville, VA threatens eminent domain if parking garage doesn’t sell

City to seek full ownership of Water St. garage

Brookville Owners to Take Over Gibson’s Grocery

MenuJennifer and Harrison Keevil, owners of Brookville Restaurant on the DTM, will be taking over Gibson’s Grocery on Hinton Avenue and open in late July, under the name Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen.

What can you expect? Made-to-order subs, take-away sandwiches and salads, and a couple rotating monthly sandwich ideas dreamed up by the Keevil’s and their chef friends. They will also be serving up breakfast sandwiches and other breakfast fare, along with smoothies….and plan eventually to offer take-away dinner options.

Of course, there will be regular grocery items, wine, beer, etc….with an emphasis on products from Virginia.

“The customers of Gibson’s Grocery have come to love the quality of service form the Gibson Family for the last 30 years and Jennifer and I look to continue to uphold those standards for years to come,” says Harrison.

Props to Farmer Todd….someone REALLY making a difference on the south side of the DTM



Todd Niemeier, operations director for the Urban Agricultural Collective of Charlottesville. Photo by Ryan M. Kelly.

DP -Niemeier is operations director for the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville. His job includes overseeing the community gardens at Friendship Court, Sixth Street and West Street.

During the past growing season, these well-tended plots yielded 17,000 pounds of fresh vegetables. And every tomato, potato, cucumber and leafy green was given away free to community members.

“We believe that working together to grow and share healthy food helps to cultivate healthy communities,” said Niemeier, who is affectionately called Farmer Todd. “The food is a vehicle for bringing people together across racial and social barriers. READ MORE

Photo Gallery: The DTM, 90s-Style

The DTM in the mid to late 1990s was a different place. You walked across Market Street, which was one-way, without even looking, you hung out at Spencer’s 206, and you knew almost everyone you ran into. Waldo Jaquith captures that time here with some great photos and captions.

Schmidt Returns for CD Release Party at The Southern

Danny Schmidt says his April 2 show at the Southern will be special for a couple reasons:

“I lived in Charlottesville (and central Virginia) for about ten years, and it’s where I first started sharing my music publicly. I’ve since moved back to Austin, but Cville still feels like my musical home . . . so the Southern show feels a bit like a homecoming.”

“This new record, Owls, isn’t going to be released to the wider public until May 19th. So this show at The Southern is a sneak peek, and the album’s world debut. It will be available at the show, but nowhere else for another six weeks.”

Find out what Danny has been up to here.


When:  Thursday, April 2nd at 8pm
Where: The Southern Cafe & Music Hall in Charlottesville, VA
Who: Danny Schmidt
What: CD Release Concert
How Much: $12 advanced/ $15 door
For more info:

DTM Book Fest Picks

BOOK FESTThe Literature of Vietnam Wed. March 18, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Location: UVa Bookstore 400 Emmet Street S, Charlottesville, VA 22903 Authors D.S. Lliteras (Viet Man: A Novel), Robert Tecklenburg (The Boys Next Door: A Marine Returns to Vietnam), and Robert Timberg (Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir) discuss their stories, both experienced and imagined.

A Conversation with John Casey Wed. March 18, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Location: UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904 Author John Casey (Beyond the First Draft: The Art of Fiction) discusses writing, shares insights from his essays on the art of writing — and rewriting — fiction in this conversation with Jeb Livingood.

A Conversation with Matthew Crawford Wed. March 18, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Location:UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904 Matthew Crawford (The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction) talks with Siva Vaidhyanathan about the challenge of mastering one’s own mind. This event is free and open to all. To be assured of a seat, please register via U.Va. Lifetime Learning.

Football in the Red Zone: Perspectives from the Player, Coach, and Fan Wed. March 18, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm Location: UVa Culbreth Theater 109 Culbreth Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903 Join former NFL player, college coach, and ESPN analyst Bill Curry (The Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle), Mark Edmundson (Why Football Matters: My Education in the Game), and Steve Almond (Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto), as they discuss their love for football, why it matters, and what’s gone wrong. Tickets are $10 each ($5 for students) and available through the UVA Arts Box Office.

Women of the Civil War: Uncovering Their Lives and Letters Thu. March 19, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Location: UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904 Authors Karen Abbott (Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War), Casey Clabough (Women of War: Memoirs, Poetry, and Fiction by Virginia Women Who Lived Through the Civil War), and Carolyn Curry (Suffer and Grow Strong: The Life of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas 1834-1907), look at women who lived (and fought) through the Civil War.

Delicious and Dizzying: Poetry & Fiction at The Bridge P.A.I. Thu. March 19, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Location: The Bridge PAI 209 Monticello Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902 Poet Dana Roeser (The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed) and Darcey Steinke (Sister Golden Hair) read and discuss their work in this Festival edition of The Bridge P.A.I. Reading Series.

20th c. Music: Soul, Soul Train, and Top 40 Fri. March 20, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Location: CitySpace-Piedmont Council for the Arts 100 5th Street NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902 Listen to Ericka Blount Danois (Love, Peace, and Soul: Behind the Scenes of America’s Favorite Dance Show Soul Train: Classic Moments), Gayle Wald (It’s Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television), and Eric Weisbard (Top 40 Democracy: The Rival Mainstreams of American Music) as they tell the story of America’s pop music and pop music TV shows.

Friends of JMRL Annual Used Book Sale Sat. March 21, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Location: JMRL Gordon Ave Branch 1500 Gordon Avenue Charlottesville, VA The Annual Spring Book Sale is one of two primary fundraiser for the Friends of JMRL. Proceeds from this annual event benefit the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library’s programs and facilities. All of the books sold are donated by members of our communities. The annual spring book sale is truly a Charlottesville treasure! The Spring sale runs 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, every day from March 21 to March 29.


Forget the ‘Rolling Stone’ Debacle: At UVA, 38 Reports of Sexual Violence, 0 Expulsions Last Year


Takepart — The details will seem all too familiar: A woman at the University of Virginia says she was raped at a fraternity. The school is accused of mishandling the matter. A journalist reports the allegations, leading to national news coverage and protests against the university.

Last fall’s Rolling Stone article? No, this was in 2004. The incident took place in 2001. The report appeared in a now-defunct weekly newspaper, The Hook, published in Charlottesville, Virginia, where UVA is located. Its accuracy has never been questioned.

Seemingly lost in the media firestorm surrounding Rolling Stone’s now discredited article depicting a 2012 gang rape at a UVA fraternity house is one small nugget that’s been reported many times: According to UVA spokesperson Anthony Paul de Bruyn, no UVA student has been expelled for sexual assault or rape in the last 10 years. READ MORE