Post #352: Town of Vienna Development Activity Page

Posted on August 18, 2019

Hey, is this new?  Or have I just not been paying attention?  The Town has a series of maps summarizing development activity in the Town of Vienna:

Or go here for the map itself.

This is the first time I’ve stumbled across it, and certainly the first time I’ve ever seen the associated map.  Kudos to the Town of Vienna, as this how such activity should be tracked, for benefit of the public, in the modern world.

Previously, the Town had a map for MAC projects, but I never could get much use of it.  This current effort seems an order of magnitude better, largely for use of a better map.

That said, be aware that these maps have a few limitations.  Mostly, these maps appeared to show anything requiring Town approval via some public meeting.  So there is construction that does not go through that process, and there are things that go through that process that are not construction.

Omitted construction:  My guess is that any purely by-right construction will be omitted.  Mostly, that omits all of the tear-downs all over Vienna.  Those are handled entirely within Planning and Zoning and Public Works (I think) and so are not subject to any sort of public exposure.  But also notably absent is 901 Glyndon.  I’m not sure whether that’s due to the age, or due to that project having been determined to be by-right (no-public-review) construction.

Omitted construction:  I would also guess that anything done by Town of Vienna Public Works or by Fairfax County would be omitted.  So construction relating to roads, schools, parks, sidewalks, and other public property likely won’t show up here.  In fact, I can see that sidewalk revisions don’t show up, because we’ve had several in the past years and none appear.  Again, that’s probably because those aren’t reviewed and approved in public by the Town of Vienna.

Included but not construction:  This map shows changes in any conditional use permits.  So, e.g., if a restaurant wants to have live music (a conditional use of the property, requiring Town approval due to the potential for annoying the neighbors as Bey Lounge did), that will show up on the map.  But that’s not new construction.  The marker for “Blend 111” is one such case — it’s on the map, but it has nothing to do with construction, just with how the property is used.

This does not give you a link to some document repository for each site, but it does at least link to (e.g.) the documents that were provided during the last available public meeting on the project, if any.

One little quirk is that they didn’t know where to put denied applications, so Sunrise (assisted living, Maple and Center, denied by the Town, currently the subject of a lawsuit) shows up on the “Under Construction/Completed” page.  I understand the logic from Town staff point of view — they are done with it — but I think I’d at least give the denials a different shape or color or something.

All in all, a vast improvement over what was available previously, and particularly relative to the half-baked attempts by private citizens to do the same sort of tracking.  I believe that I will now retire that project tracking page.