Post #529: Sunrise lawsuit proceeds

Posted on February 19, 2020

As the note says, 3/13/2020 10 AM is the scheduled date for the next hearing in the Sunrise $30M lawsuit against the Town of Vienna.  This, courtesy of Shelley Ebert, who keeps tabs on this from time to time.

If you don’t know the back story, you can read Post #514, Post #353, Post #342.

At the end-of-January Town Council meeting, Town Council finally broke their taboo about mentioning this lawsuit.  At that meeting, Sunrise went so far as to say that they were not seeking to build at two separate locations in Vienna.  So they’re not pursuing an assisted living facility at Maple and Center, in addition to the one at Maple and Wade Hampton (380 Maple West).

But they are keeping that lawsuit alive.  Which seems a bit odd, given that they have (what I believe to be) final approval from Town Council, as of the end-of-January Town Council meeting?  They’ll still have to face the Board of Architectural Review one most time, for final approval of materials to be used on the outside of the building, some months down the road.

But in terms of Town entities who really and truly could have said “no” to Sunrise, I think they cleared their last hurdle last month.  And yet, the lawsuit lives on.

For my part, I can say that the reaction I have seen to this lawsuit, in social media and in person, has been almost uniformly negative.  It’s one thing for some residents to dislike what the Town Council has been up to.  It’s another thing entirely to have a national corporation sue the Town for $30M.

For my part, I thought that the original justification for the lawsuit was valid.  But at this point, I can only guess that Sunrise isn’t expecting to see a lot of business from Town of Vienna residents (see Post #328).  And that’s good, because the longer this suit lingers, the larger the fraction of the Town’s population that’s going to hold a grudge against them for it.

If they really don’t intend to press this, assuming they build in Vienna, at some point the the negative attention from this lawsuit should outweigh whatever gains they expect to get from continuing to hold it over the heads of Vienna Town Council.  At which point, the lawsuit would quietly disappear.  I’d have thought they’d have reached that point when Town Council gave their final approval.  But apparently not.  At least, based on their continuation of the lawsuit, they think that hasn’t happened yet.