The senior facility had previously faced a myriad of concerns around its parking, retail space and location at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street — although a staff presentation prior to the vote on June 17 demonstrated new changes meant to quell some of the issues.
According to a staff presentation, Sunrise reduced the maximum number of residents from 115 to 108, plans to determine the final locations for the bike racks during the site plan approval and added a proffer to secure at least 12 off-site parking spaces for employees — a move meant to address concerns about the project lacking enough parking.
“The intention is not to take from street parking,” Jerry Liang, the senior vice president of development for Sunrise, told the Town Council. “Rather this is Sunrise proffering to enter into an agreement with a property owner somewhere in the area for 12 spaces that employees will be able to utilize… and to handle overflow situations.”
Liang said that they would look away from the center of town that could be reached via a shuttle.
The new proffer seemed to satisfy Councilmember Linda Colbert’s and outgoing Councilmember Tara Bloch’s concerns about parking, leading Bloch to put forward a motion to approve the project.
Before the vote, several other councilmembers voiced issues with the project, and Councilmember Pasha Majdi noted that because of a protest petition, the motion would require five “yes” votes in order to pass.
“I’d hate to see it fail tonight,” Majdi said before the vote. “I’d like to see it be successful. I don’t know how it’s going to go.”
Despite Majdi’s suggestion that the council table the project, Bloch pushed forward the vote to approve the rezoning, which ultimately failed with a 3-4 vote.
Mayor Laurie A. DiRocco, Majdi, Howard Springsteen and Douglas Noble voted no. Bloch, Colbert and outgoing councilmember Carey Sienicki voted yes.
Rendering via Town of Vienna