901 Glyndon SE

Posted on December 3, 2018

There used to be a tiny little nondescript typical-rural-Virginia commercial building at the corner of Tapwingo and Glyndon.  Kind of looked like a miniature 7-11.  White siding over white-painted cinderblock.  Ugly, utilitarian, nondescript and easily ignored.

Even less attractive when viewed from the side.

It was just one of those oddities — a tiny parcel of land that was zoned for commercial use, in the middle of what was otherwise a very quiet neighborhood of single-family homes.

The long-time neighbors had adapted to it.  Here’s the view from the house next door, where the plantings pretty much screen the building from view.  (I note here that I don’t know the owner of that house.)

Here’s the same neighboring house today (12/3/2018):

And here’s what it now sits next to, big enough that I couldn’t get the whole thing in one shot, standing across the street.

Here’s a view showing the entire building one one frame:

No hiding that with a bit of shrubbery — it’s in your face 24/7/365.

I think the next-door-neighbor expressed his or her opinion eloquently.  And all I can say is, I certainly can’t blame them.

But a little protest like that — that’s all you’ve got, once the Town is bound and determined to cram as much as possible into Vienna.  So make your protest, sure.  But that building more-or-less occupies every cubic foot that the law allows.  And of course, in order to be something-like-legal, the first floor has to be commercial space.  Although what retail business that might be, expecting to survive surrounded by what appear to be some fairly hostile neighbors (and nothing else), I cannot imagine.  Right now, it looks like a yoga studio takes up at least part of the commercial space.

I mean, who could have guessed that in buying a house next to this innocuous little structure, you were at risk for having a six-condo apartment building plus retail space go up next door?  But now, that building will be there for the next half a century, because of the fluke of having that parcel zoned as commercial property.  So six lux condos plus retail, that’s the commercial use, now and forever.

If, after seeing this, and seeing what the Town has approved for Maple, if the newly-announced push to rewrite all the Town of Vienna zoning rules doesn’t raise a red flag, you just aren’t paying attention.

Let me give you a hint — they aren’t going to change the law to protect existing residential neighborhoods.  The aren’t going to change the law to keep density down.  They’re going to change the law to allow construction of high-density residential (“mixed use”) buildings that take up every cubic foot of legally allowable space.  Exactly as they are doing on Maple today.

Take a drive past 901 Glyndon SE.  You’re looking at the future of Vienna.