Local News

Snow Removal Enforcement Hypocritical?

The Charlottesville Police Department, after a “grace period” to account for the two big snowstorms we’ve had recently, say that they have now “gotten tough” on businesses and homeowners who have not “removed snow from public sidewalks” under their domain –  and have even issued summons for noncompliance.

It’s technically illegal to fail to remove snow on the sidewalks in front of your home once twelve hours have passed since the snow stopped falling — even though those sidewalks don’t belong to you.

Charlottesville’s Lieutenant Gary Pleasants states that most people complied once “warned.”

Police Chief Tim Longo said in January that ordinance wasn’t enforceable because the city of Charlottesville itself hadn’t cleared its walkways. At the time, even Chief Longo hadn’t shoveled his challenging sidewalk — though he now has.

Some citizens have voiced complaints about inconsistency and hypocrisy, though: “How about places where city plows decided to put 6 ft of snow on someone’s sidewalk? And what’s an elderly homeowner to do with 12 hours notice who now has over 1,000 cubic ft of snow to remove or face penalty?” said one. And another commented: “Perhaps the city should first take another look at their own sidewalks! I noticed yesterday that the sidewalks on 5th Street S.W. have not been done yet. In particular, the sidewalks behind the Prospect Avenue complex. People have to walk out in the roadway. The city also won’t clear the roadways. Melbourne Road has a left turn lane onto Rio Road that’s open. The right turn lane onto Park Street has a pile of snow about 200 feet tall. On Park Street turning onto Melbourne Road, the left turn lane is open. The straight through lane onto Rio Road is so narrow I am surprised many cars haven’t been sideswiped. Or maybe they have, I don’t know.”

Local News

Mount Chipotle A Dream for Gamblers?

A group of students at the University of Virginia have set up a betting pool — and possibly a quite profitable one — taking wagers on the huge over-50-foot mountain of snow that plows have created at Charlottesville’s popular Barracks Road Shopping Center.

It’s called Mount Chipotle.

UVA Environmental Sciences student Luke Cole told a local TV station WVIR “We have had aerial fly-overs actually with a small plane. We are trying to map the height and the perimeter of it. It certainly looks like a big north east snow pile that’s made its way down to the mid Atlantic.”

Cole’s department started a betting pool, challenging participants to predict when the mountain will melt — and a source at a local housing rental company says the pool has spread to many downtown businesses: “It’s just a matter of naming the day and putting in ten dollars or more. My money is on early May, but who knows? The thing is just huge. It even has a flag on top of it.”

“Some basic computer models may have been done to try and predict that date. But mostly it’s an educated guess,” according to Cole, who adds that proceeds from the pool will benefit his department.

You can find out more about the mountain, the pool, and even computer models of when the mass will become liquid at

Is the pool legal? Probably not, but law enforcement generally winks at the laws unless someone unpopular breaks them. If controversial recycling magnate Van der Linde was running the pool to pay his legal fees, their response might be different.