Posted on October 14, 2018

The revised plans for 444 Maple West/Tequila Grande are available on the Town of Vienna Website.  These, possibly with some minor changes, will be the basis for the Town Council vote on October 29, 2018.

A brief review of the changes in the 444 Maple West proposal follows.

The bottom line is this:  If you thought the original plan was way off the mark in terms of number of apartments, building height, overall size, and so on — then you’ll think the same of the new proposed building.  The building is still 61′ tall, still covers more than a football field in area, and more-or-less doubles the number of dwelling units in the neighborhood.  By contrast, if you thought the original proposal was very close to being acceptable, then you might find the changes make the new one acceptable to you.  I make no bones about belonging to the “way off the mark” group.

Compared to the original proposal, the number of apartments drops from 160 to approximately 151.

The picture below show how this stacks up against the entire neighborhood bounded by Nutley, Maple, and Courthouse.  (To get oriented, the intersection of Nutley and Maple is in the upper left corner of the picture.)  This one building contains almost as many dwelling units as the entire abutting neighborhood.    And there is already another big MAC building proposal one block further down Maple.  Together 444 Maple West (currently Tequila Grande/Wolf Trap Motel) and 380 Maple West (currently a nameless office building) will more than double the number of dwelling units in this neighborhood.

(If you are confused about the difference between 444 and 380 Maple West, see this page.)


And the Town Council is just getting started.  A writeup of all the buildings known to be somewhere in the MAC redevelopment process is shown here, with a more pointed writeup given here.

Compared to the original plans, there’s a modest improvement in the “additional open space” — open space not already required by the zoning or required to get into and out of the building. There are now courtyards (“plazas”) breaking up the Maple Avenue side of the building (70′ x 30′) and the Nutley Street side of the building (35′ x 25′).   All told, these two new open spaces account for about 2.5% of the area of the lot.   The original plan offered 0.8% of the lot as “additional open space”, the new plan offers 3.3%.

The only attention to traffic issues is to make the turn lanes on Maple and Nutley longer, so that they can hold additional cars.  And that’s some improvement, I guess.  At least there is some acknowledgement that there will be more cars, and that may require the Town to do something.  If you want to see a simple explanation of why the Town has not, and never will, do a study of how MAC will affect traffic on Maple as a whole, see here.

There’s also a commitment to do what it takes to get the people who live there to use their cars less.  That’s nice, but there’s no plan for enforcing it.  And they widened their driveway where it hits Maple, probably because they figured out how hard it’s going to be to turn left out of that building, across Maple Avenue rush hour traffic.

The Town has signaled that it will do nothing to address cut-through traffic in the adjacent neighborhoods.  So far, everything that has been suggested by residents of the adjacent neighborhoods has been shot down.  I fully expect that attitude of indifference to continue.