just procrastinating

Monday, December 13, 2004

I take my dog walking down by the Rivanna River most days. On the other side of the river runs the Rivanna Trail, at trail that circles Charlottesville. In the section right across from the park where we walk, there is an area where the trail has been closed. The reason? The woman who owns that section of it has put razor wire up to keep people walking on that part of her property. Here is a recent article about it in The Hook, one of Charlottesville's free weeklies.

It is a complicated issue for me and I am torn between my libertarian leanings and my desire to justice done. Part of knows that because it is her property, she has a right to do whatever she wants with it. The other part of me that seeks justice wants to see this freakin' old hag get what she deserves. She is the only person in town who hasn't given permission to the trail foundation and is being a complete bitch about this. Article excerpt:
As part of its quest to create a continuous 20-mile trail around the city, the nonprofit Rivanna Trails Foundation obtained easements from waterfront property owners beginning in the early-'90s. But, in what the Foundation has called an "oversight," no one obtained the permission from the homeowners on Bland Circle, a cul-de-sac of compact homes on a high bluff over the Rivanna.

While some Bland Circle residents forgave the lapse and eventually gave permission, Presley grew more frustrated with-- and fearful of-- the increasing number of hikers crossing her property.

In the summer of 2002, the Foundation, acknowledging Presley's property rights, created a bypass redirecting hikers away from her property and onto the asphalt of River Road and Locust Avenue.

The posted detour, however, wasn't enough to keep interlopers away. In early summer 2002, Presley erected a large brush pile across the trail to deter users, many of whom were frustrated by the blockage of a riverfront route that had allegedly been in casual use for decades.

After several more confrontations with interlopers-- including one that occurred with police present, according to her lawyer-- Shirley Presley took protection of her property to a new, more extreme, level, erecting not one-- as has been previously reported-- but two parallel strings of razor wire approximately 60 feet apart across the trail near each edge of her property
The truth of this is that her land is so steep that she can't even see the hikers from her house and there is no way to get to her house from the trail unless you have mountain climbing gear. People and animals are getting injured on her razor-wire now, so it probably won't be too long before something bad happens here. I'd be willing to donate money and time to building an extension of this trail around her property by extending it just into the river via a dock or pier of some sort. That would actually be the perfect solution because it preserves her property rights and would annoy the hell out of her.

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