Post #309: The July 1 2019 Town Council meeting

Posted on June 28, 2019

This is just a notice to bring something to your attention:  The Town Council is going to consider a motion to rescind its recent approval of 380 Maple West (37 condos plus retail, Wade Hampton and Maple).  This will be the last agenda item at its 8 PM July 1 meeting.

You can find the relevant meeting materials on this web page.

I’m not going to opine on the legal issues behind this, but I will comment on the context arising from the recent Town of Vienna elections.  Mainly, this is not unexpected.

In Fairfax County, they (typically) do not let the Board of Supervisors make land use decisions between the election and the seating of the new Board.  In other words, they don’t allow lame-duck Board members to decide land use (zoning and rezoning) issues as they are going out of office.

They do this for several good reasons.  Probably the most important is that you don’t want individuals who are not beholden to the electorate making these significant (and permanent) decisions about land use.  In particular, you don’t want to allow them the opportunity to make one last grand gesture in favor of any one particular development or policy without having to face the consequences for such an action.

This May’s Town election replaced two pro-MAC Council members with two new anti-MAC newcomers.  In round numbers, 75% of the votes cast in that election were for anti-MAC candidates.

And, unsurprisingly, given what appeared to be a fairly strong mandate from the voters, Councilman Springsteen asked the Town to abide by the same rule that Fairfax County does.  He asked that land-use decisions be deferred until the new Town Council could be seated.  He asked that the lame-duck Town Council not engage in that business.

He was ignored.  At the last Town Council meeting, the Town Council a) approved 380 Maple West, b) turned down the Sunrise assisted living facility at  and c) appointed and re-appointed various pro-MAC actors to Town Boards and Commissions (e.g., Planning Commission).

But, as it turns out, government bodies can change their minds.  They can rescind something that they recently passed, according to Robert’s Rules of Order.

Somehow, given the hustle-up and hardball style that the pro-MAC forces have used to move these projects through the system, I doubt that they’ll allow this motion to rescind to be considered.  From what I hear, the pro-MAC Councilmembers that remain are still in denial about the recent election.  They continue to maintain that the “real” Vienna is solidly behind them. (Without evidence or analysis, but what else is new.)  So it will take another election to settle that point one way or the other.  In any case, there’s been zero indication of any willingness to accede gracefully to the apparent will of the people.  All I can say is, what happens Monday night will be remembered, and I for one will try to make sure it is clearly remembered for the next Town of Vienna election.