The Sunrise Senior Living Facility proposed for downtown Vienna received approval from the town’s Planning Commission last night (May 22).
The senior facility has faced a myriad of concerns around its parking, retail space and location at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street.
After public hearings, dozens of residents and some of the planning commissioners said they are worried that the parking spaces might not accommodate all of the visitors, employees, shoppers and roughly 100 residents.
Recent modifications that the Planning Commission OK’d last night dropped the number of units from 83 to 82, removed the mezzanine, reduced the retail to 2,264 square feet, altered the fence height and removed the grand staircase inside the facility — changes the developers said addressed town residents’ previous criticisms.
The changes mirror a solution proposed by Planning Commissioner Mary McCullough at the May 8 meeting to reduce the retail space to free up the parking spaces that retail employees and shoppers would use.
“The improvements are a true reflection that you listened,” McCullough told the developers last night.
While most of the planning commissioners said they thought the modifications improved the project, Commissioners Sharon Baum and David Miller said they still had reservations.
Baum said that she wanted to see more retail space instead of less, while Miller brought up a concern about the senior living facility’s placement.
“Is this the use we want at this corner?” Miller asked, questioning how many of the older residents would visit nearby retail and restaurants. Miller said that he would rather see apartments or condominiums, hinting at younger residents.
Ultimately, the Planning Commission approved the modifications and the proposal.
“Is it perfect? No,” Michael Gelb, who chairs the Planning Commission, said. “I haven’t seen a perfect project yet.”
Next up, the proposal has a Vienna Town Council meeting scheduled for June 3. Town Council has until Aug. 2 to make a decision.
Rendering via Town of Vienna