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Vienna Officials Deny Alleged Discrimination in Sunrise Lawsuit

Town of Vienna officials are denying the allegation that the Town Council discriminated against seniors and people with disabilities when rejecting an assisted living facility.

On July 17, Sunrise filed a lawsuit in Fairfax County Circuit Court against the Town Council after it denied Sunrise’s rezoning application for a proposed 82-unit facility downtown.

Sunrise is arguing that the Town Council’s rejection violated the Virginia Fair Housing Law and Sunrise was treated differently from other developers seeking rezoning under the Maple Avenue Commercial Zone.

In the lawsuit, Sunrise also claims that the rezoning application was consistent with the town’s Comprehensive Plan and that some council members’ concerns about parking “were not grounded in empirical evidence, and thus were necessarily arbitrary and capricious.”

Last Wednesday (Aug. 14), the Town Council responded to Sunrise’s allegations, saying “the Virginia Fair Housing Law is inapplicable given the facts asserted in the complaint.”

The Town Council wants Sunrise to file the complete legislative record, which includes the rezoning affidavit, staff reports and audio and minutes from Vienna meetings, hearings and work sessions.

“In order to evaluate Sunrise’s claims, the court necessarily must review and evaluate the legislative record which Council considered, said record being central to the claims brought by Sunrise,” according to the response.

While Sunrise is seeking a jury trial and wants the Town Council to reconsider the rezoning denial and pay Sunrise $30 million in damages, the Town Council asked the court to permanently dismiss the case.

Steven Briglia, the town’s attorney, told Tysons Reporter that the town does not comment on pending on litigation. Briglia said that no date has been set yet for the court to rule on the demurrer from the Town Council and motion.

Image via Town of Vienna

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