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Vienna Officials Pick Calfee Zoning to Lead Team Revamping Town’s Zoning

Earlier this week, the Vienna Town Council approved having Calfee Zoning lead the team that will update the town’s commercial district zoning.

The consulting firm will work with urban design specialists YARD & Company, transportation firm Nelson Nygaard, and land use attorneys from Venable LLP.

Town staff said the committee that evaluated proposals from four teams unanimously concluded Calfee Zoning was the best candidate, highlighting the firm’s work with communities of 10,000-50,000 people near metropolitan areas.

“It should be noted that the Calfee-led team was the only team to include a firm specializing in transportation planning and parking standards,” according to town documents, adding that the town officials wanted a firm with national knowledge of urban design and use planning.

In June, the Town Council repealed its controversial Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zone after years of struggling to refresh its zoning code.

“The Town’s last significant zoning code changes occurred more than 50 years ago in 1969; a significant portion of the current zoning code includes regulations that date back to the 1956 zoning ordinance,” according to town documents.

Calfee’s proposal to the town spotlighted how it zoning methodology will fit the town’s vision for its commercial areas:

Development Pattern Districting (DPD) mixes elements of character-based, form-based and Euclidean zoning, as appropriate, is flexible and adaptable, and much more responsive to context, character and sense of place than other zoning approaches. This means that the Town will have all the tools to ensure that the zoning method is specifically tailored to the Town’s various corridors, districts, and nodes. While our team encourages and will work with the Town on an approach that works best for Vienna, the DPD methodology demonstrates that our team thinks creatively and innovatively about land use methods.

City planner and lawyer Sean Suder, who founded Calfee, will serve as the project lead, according to the proposal.

The town will pay Calfee Zoning $223,900 — just under the town’s plans to spend $250,000. Calfee estimates that the work will take 16 months, according to the proposal.

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