Vienna Town Council Gives Go-Ahead to Demolish Former Mayor’s House

After a three-week delay, the Vienna Town Council has approved plans to demolish a house that once belonged to the late Mayor Charles Robinson and his wife, the late former Councilmember Maud Robinson.

The council voted unanimously yesterday (Monday) to permit the Tysons Service Corporation to raze the single-story residence at 124 Courthouse Road SW after town staff determined that the existing building cannot be repurposed.

“The residential structure, detached garage, and outbuildings are not in condition to be reused or modified,” Vienna Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Herman said.

According to the Sun Gazette, the Robinsons moved into the house in 1951, and portions of its structure date back to at least 1870.

However, the three-quarter-acre property has been vacant since Maud Robinson died in March 2019. The Town of Vienna purchased it in December 2019.

The town council had been scheduled to make a decision on the house’s fate during its Nov. 16 meeting, but members decided to postpone the vote after a member of Historic Vienna, Inc., a group dedicated to preserving and promoting the town’s history, asked them to consider saving the oldest parts of the property.

The council ultimately agreed with town staff that, despite its sentimental value, the house is not worth saving since it does not meet modern accessibility standards and is assumed to have asbestos based on its age, though a survey conducted on Jan. 17 found less than 1% of the substance.

“Certainly, we had two very prominent people living there that mean so much to our town, but demolishing their house will not do anything to their memory,” Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert said. “We can still do other things to honor them in our town, so I do think it’s time, I think, for safety, and it just makes sense that it’s time to do that.”

The Tysons Service Corporation, which has been hired for the demolition, estimates that the work will cost between $25,405 and $28,000, depending on any additional work that is needed, according to Herman.

In addition to knocking down the house, the contractor will be responsible for getting rid of any asbestos and turning off sewer and water services in the property line.

The project costs also include the installation of a construction entrance and silt fence, the transportation of till dirt to level out the site, and the addition of grass seed and straw to undisturbed areas.

The Town of Vienna has not yet developed plans for what it will do with the site once the house is demolished.

“Tonight, we’re just looking at demolishing the structure, and then we can move on and have work sessions and have further discussion,” Colbert said.

Photo via Google Maps

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