Charlottesville City, Spiritual, and Justice Groups Conspire Against Property Rights

A private property owner in Charlottesville has found himself on the wrong side of the mob.

Andrew “Drew” Holzwarth, who recently purchased the Belmont Apartments at 1000 Monticello Road for $2.75 million, has come under direct personal attack from a conglomeration of activist groups:

Holzwarth’s plan to renovate (improve) the building has met fierce resistance from the groups, as affected existing tenants will ultimately need to find alternative housing.

A May 1 press release from the Charlottesville Anti-Racist Media Liaisons on behalf of the Charlottesville Low Income Housing Coalition (CLIHC), demands that Mr. Holzwarth reverse course [emphasis added]:

Our community is determined to find alternatives to the potentially dire negative health and economic consequences residents will suffer if they are evicted from their homes. CLIHC’s position is that owner Andrew (“Drew”) Holzwarth needs to allow Belmont Apartments’ residents to remain in their homes and to keep rents at their current affordable rates.

The release also quotes from Will Peyton, rector of St. Paul’s Memorial Church (in essence, a progressive political action committee) speaking at a recent IMPACT meeting:

“…the current housing crisis in this community is sending a clear message, every day, to thousands of our neighbors, and the message is, ‘You don’t belong here’ … As long as our neighbors are receiving that daily message, this community is not characterized by justice. Decent housing for most is not good enough. Housing security for some is not God’s intention for us. A community of safe, stable homes is the community God is calling us to build up, a community where every child’s home is a good place to grow and rest and play and where every elder’s home is a place of safety and dignity; a conviction that justice for some is not justice at all.”

IMPACT, an amalgam of local spiritualists, is known for demanding “social justice” from government—at taxpayer expense—while failing to hold its member congregations accountable for taking direct action on issues they deem critical.

CLHIC’s release concludes with a suggestion that Mr. Holzwarth donate his $2.75 million property to an unspecified “nonprofit entity”:

Alternatively, we ask that the owner allow the residents to stay and sell or donate the property to a nonprofit entity who will honor the low-income residents living there.

A May 5 rally sponsored by the CLIHC and attended by a confederacy of homegrown cultural marxists, including representatives of the groups listed above, was often hostile and threatening in taking direct aim at Mr. Holzwarth and his private property rights:

Notably, no one has accused Mr. Holzwarth of violating terms of the signed rental or lease agreements, which terms were agreed to by the existing tenants of Belmont Apartments when they executed their contracts. Contrary to the deceptive mantra, no one is being evicted—unless they violate Virginia law and remain in their apartments past the termination date of their rental agreements.

The demonstrated lunacy of these groups, by and large, is disturbing but no surprise. The purported official involvement of The Charlottesville Office of Human Rights; however, is a different story. A taxpayer-funded branch of city government should not be complicit in attacking private property rights or specific individuals who choose to exercise such rights.

In an email response to a Schilling Show inquiry on government sanction of these efforts, Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Director of Communications, disputed the veracity of CLIHC press release:

On April 30, the Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition (CLIHC) provided the staff of the Charlottesville Human Rights Commission with a media release they had sent on April 29 about the rally being organized for May 5.  The Co-Chairs of the Human Rights Commission reviewed the statement and voiced their support for safe and adequate housing for all citizens. The staff of the Human Rights Commission shared that position with CLIHC but they did not participate in the rally.  Members of the Commission in attendance participated in their individual capacity.  The statement in the media release that the staff and Commission were formal participants is not accurate.

BRIAN WHEELER
Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville

Private property rights, a foundational principle of American governance, are under attack in Charlottesville and beyond. A violation of these rights—even for one individual—is a threat to that which governments are instituted to protect. Sadly, these protesters and their affiliated sycophants are too dim to foresee the inevitable consequences of their outrageous arrogation.