Town Council Meeting Monday August 20 — Please Attend

The Town Council will meet Monday, August 20 2018, 8 PM in Town Hall, 127 Center Street South.  Please put it on your calendar and attend the meeting.  See this page for current meeting status — what is slated to be discussed.

Why should you care about this?

The picture above is what the Vienna Town Council has been looking at, for nearly eight years, as the future of Maple Avenue.  (Page 5 of this .pdf).  The same picture is in the materials currently used to support MAC zoning.  (Page 4 of this .pdf, presented at the July 30 2018 Planning Commission meeting.)

So if you think the size of 444 Maple West is some fluke, or mistake, or is somehow the developer’s fault — guess again.  Buildings of the size of 444 Maple West are exactly what the Town Council has been aiming for.  This is exactly the type of development they envisioned for years.  This is what the Town Council wants, and what it has seen as the future of Vienna.

Sure, they tweaked the law a bit since this picture was created.  The buildings pictured are actually shorter than MAC allows — they are 54′ tall, but the roof parapets under MAC can be another 8′ higher.  And the building facades now have to be prettier, and the first floor has to be “upscale retail” space (tall ceilings, glass fronts.).  They added another 5 feet to the width of the sidewalk in the final MAC regulation.  But the basic shape of MAC zoning was set years ago, and has not changed materially since these drawings were produced in 2010.

If this is what you want for Maple Avenue — big boxy buildings full of new Town residents — then do nothing.  Because that has been the plan for a long time.  And that — well, a much prettier version of that — is what the Town has gotten in the first two MAC proposals (Marco Polo/Vienna Market and Tequila Grande/444 Maple West).  And that is probably what it will get for the rest of the proposals under MAC zoning, because the biggest possible building is what produces the greatest profit.

It is fairly clear that a lot of people don’t want this for Vienna.

Petition:  Please take a minute to sign  the petition against the 444 Maple West development.  As of 8/17/2018, 974 individuals from Vienna had signed the petition.  And, interestingly, despite the fact that the petition is a month old, the number of signatures is still growing.

Equally telling, a look-alike petition in favor of 444 Maple West has this vote count:

Public hearings:  The last Town Council meeting had an overflow crowd, and 53 citizens spoke out against 444 Maple West, none for it.  The August 30 Planning Commission meeting had 26 citizens stand up and ask for changes in MAC zoning.  Please take an evening to join your fellow citizens at the Monday August 20 Town Council meeting.

At the minimum, this meeting will address some modest changes to the Maple Avenue Commercial zoning regulations.  (These are the sections in red in document 1 on this web page.)  By that time, the Planning Commission will have met and should have offered its recommendations on these changes.  My comments on these changes are hereYou may speak for three minutes to offer your opinion on the proposed changes to MAC zoning.

This should also be the meeting at which the Town Council votes to approve or disapprove the 444 Maple West/Tequila Grande proposal, but that is not guaranteed to happen.  We will not know until the agenda for the meeting is posted, possibly not even then.  Three things could happen:  Town Council could vote, or the builder could withdraw the proposal, or the builder could substantially modify the proposal and the Town, with the builder’s agreement, would extend the current August 31 deadline.  (I have not yet seen where that third option is written in law, and may merely by local custom.)  If it is not withdrawn or modified enough so that Town Council can change the deadline, then Town Council most vote or  is automatically approved as of August 31.

You will NOT have any opportunity to speak about 444 Maple West/Tequila Grande.  The Town Council voted to close the public hearing at the last meeting.  You may still offer written comments to the Town Council, regarding the 444 Maple West proposal, until August 15, 2018.

If possible, please attend the Wednesday August 8, 2018 meeting of the Planning Commission, in Vienna Town Hall.  That meeting will also address these proposed changes to MAC zoning.

Here’s how that scene looks today, via Google Street View.  It ain’t much, but it’s home.