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Vienna Struggles to Find Middle Ground with Sunrise Development

(Updated April 8) Despite a host of other compromises, the Sunrise Senior Living Facility and Vienna Town Council are still at odds over the project exceeding the town’s height requirements.

Both parties agreed at a work session on Monday (April 1) that there’s been compromise from Sunrise. There were modifications made to spaces on the ground floor and mezzanine and the number of proposed units was taken down from 85 to 83.

But a mezzanine that cuts just under the town’s 50-percent coverage limit for what can be considered a floor is still a sticking point for Town Council members who say the project is out of line with the town’s five-story height limit.

Jerry Liang, senior vice president of development for Sunrise, argued that Vienna should reframe its limits rather than force the building to come in under a certain height.

“There’s different ways to think about density, [like] units and square footage,” Liang said. “By setting your limits on floor and height, you’ve created the maximum box. We believe the building we designed is visually pleasing.”

Planning Commissioner Mary McCullough said there were concerns from nearby residents that the back half of the building still had a “five-story look.”

The next public hearing for the project is tentatively scheduled for April 24, when the Planning Commission will discuss the development.

“Part of our goal is to satisfy a lot of particular needs for a lot of stakeholders,” Liang said. “We’re trying to find the right balance between providing critically needed service with the cost-benefit balance to really solve that Rubik’s cube.”

Image via Town of Vienna

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