Moratorium on New Maple Avenue Projects Could Extend to October

A moratorium on new development applications for Maple Avenue was scheduled to expire in June but could be pushed back to October, marking over a full year of no new applications.

On the agenda for tonight’s (Monday) Vienna Town Council meeting is a request to schedule a public hearing for May 13 to discuss extending the suspension of the Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) Zone from June 27 to Oct. 31.

Last year, the town was roiled in controversy as citizens and Council members argued back and forth over whether a new mixed-use development replacing the Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel was too large for Maple Avenue.

“If we’re going to have a project there, this one is not ready for primetime,” said Councilmember Howard Springsteen at the August meeting. “I think the developer has done a horrible [public relations] job and has created a firestorm of concerns around town. This is probably one of the most divisive things that has come to this town in 20 years.”

In September 17, the Town Council voted to suspend the MAC Zoning while town staff redesigned the town’s guidelines.  The redesign process has been conducted throughout the winter and into spring. Two community workshops to solicit public feedback were held on March 29 and 30.

But the agenda item notes that staff needs more time to work on putting the suggestions from the public and Vienna officials into new guidelines:

Staff recommends extending the suspension of the MAC Zoning regulations to enable completion of proposed new design guidelines and incorporate potential recommendations from the multimodal transportation study into the amendments to the MAC Zone regulations.

The agenda item notes that a joint meeting of the Town Council, Planning Commission and Board of Architectural Review was held on March 20 but the meeting was continued to May 1.

Additionally, the Town of Vienna also recently commissioned a Maple Avenue Corridor Multimodal Transportation and Land Use Study whose results are expected to be received this summer and could be incorporated into the design guidelines.

File photo

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