A new store in Vienna will feature food without packaging, household products that don’t add to landfills, and much more.

Mala Persaud, who has lived in the town for over a decade, plans to unveil Trace — The Zero Waste Store to the public this October at 140 Church Street Northwest, part of her personal journey to embrace a lifestyle of seeking to eliminate non-recyclable and non-reusable products and packaging.

“People can actually see with their own eyes…how much trash we generated with the pandemic,” Persaud told Tysons Reporter. “This is a way to make it a little bit easier to make slightly different choices.”

She plans to have approximately 400 items at her store with bins for spices, bulk foods from rice to nuts and beans, local products such as honey and peanut butter, hygiene items such as soap and shampoo, and household cleaning items.

Trace joins a growing community of environmentally friendly stores that seek to provide alternatives to single-use packaging, which often ends up in landfills, the ocean, or incinerators that emit greenhouse gases.

Persaud committed to transitioning away from single-use packaging when she was on vacation in Belize in 2016 and saw plastic bottles and trash on a road, sensing that it could soon be washed into the ocean.

She avoids plastic bottles, gave up cheese for a month last October due to the packaging, and embraced other lifestyle changes such as Plastic Free July.

“The earth cannot re-absorb the plastic we’ve created,” her website says. “So we have to find a way to reduce how much we use. Zero Waste stores make it possible to re-use what we already have, thereby reducing the amount that ends up in landfills or in the ocean.”

Even Trace’s store sign is an opportunity for sustainability. Persaud is asking the town to allow changes for her building storefront so she can use more reusable and cost-effective materials, enabling any future tenants to simply replace lettering rather than having to make a completely new sign.

Her application is going before the Board of Architectural Review tomorrow (Thursday) for its 7:30 p.m. online meeting.

“When I leave…the next business owner is just going to be able to lift the letters off and get new ones printed, and it will cost a couple hundred dollars,” she said.

Persaud’s family has served as an example for her low-waste lifestyle, too: Her parents were surprised by all the packaging used in the U.S. when they immigrated from Guyana, and her grandmothers saw paper towels as a luxury, reusing them until it was no longer possible to do so.

Her 20-year-old son has also taken steps to reduce his waste footprint, such as avoiding plastic cutlery for takeout food.

Persaud has personally vetted the items that her store will sell, such as wooden spoons. She brings her own set with her to avoid creating unnecesary waste.

“It does become habit-forming,” Persaud said of adjusting to bringing her own packaging to a store. “And then when you see how much less trash you’re generating, it actually feels pretty good.”

Photos courtesy Trace — The Zero Waste Store / Instagram, tracezerowaste.com

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A much-debated retail and residential development proposed for 444 Maple Avenue West is moving closer toward demolition and construction.

The Town of Vienna Board of Architectural Review is slated to meet for a virtual work session at 7:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) to discuss the exterior appearance of the project at the former site of Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel and Tequila Grande.

New Jersey-based real estate firm Hekemian & Co. plans to turn the property into a four-story, mixed-use building with 150 residential units and over 18,800 square feet of retail space. The developer hopes to begin construction this fall.

While many community members expressed concern about the development’s size and potential traffic impacts, the architectural review board advanced the project in May 2018, saying that it met zoning parameters. The Vienna Town Council approved the project 5-2 in October 2018.

The project is returning to the architectural review board now for “minor changes to the façade” to adapt to construction, according to applicant Lindsey Minkoff with the architecture firm KTGY Group.

The site developer remains committed to several proffers, dated Nov. 13, 2018, including:

  • Placing around 440 linear feet of utilities underground along Maple Avenue
  • Making traffic and pedestrian upgrades, such as extending a left-turn lane from Nutley Street to Maple Avenue)
  • Giving $170,000 toward a town signal improvement fund
  • Consulting with the Vienna Public Arts Commission while paying for the design, installation, and other costs of including public art in the development’s parking garage

The parking garage will serve retail customers. Underground parking will be available for residents and street parking for prospective tenants, according to the application before the Board of Architectural Review.

The submitted materials also include a rendering of a Maple Avenue Plaza that will be created in front of the complex. Planned residential amenities include a pool, club room, and indoor fitness facility.

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Morning Notes

New I-66 Ramp to West Falls Church Metro Opens — A new ramp designed to provide direct access from Interstate 66 to the West Falls Church Metro station is expected to open around midday today (Thursday). Work on the ramp, which connects two existing I-66 East/Route 7 ramps, began in May 2020 and is part of the I-66 Inside the Beltway widening project. [VDOT]

Partial Closure of Tysons Boulevard Begins — Fairfax County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (Wednesday) to mark the launch of a program to give pedestrians and bicyclists access to a half-mile of Tysons Boulevard. This is the second year that the county has experimented with a partial closure of the road near Tysons Galleria. [Dalia Palchik/Twitter]

McLean Family Starts Persian Ice Cream Delivery — The owners of Amoo’s Restaurant in McLean has spun off one of their most lauded dishes into a delivery service. Kinrose Creamery launched last week, producing ice cream that can be picked up at Amoo’s and delivery sites in Vienna, Sterling, and Manassas. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Wolf Trap Hotel Project Returns to Vienna Board — The Town of Vienna Board of Architectural Review will discuss the latest revisions to plans for a four-story, mixed-use development at 444 Maple Avenue W. when it meets tonight. After being slowed down by the pandemic and public opposition to proposed development on Maple, the developer told Tysons Reporter in June that they hope to start construction this fall. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Behind the Architecture of Capital One Hall — “HGA worked with the client, presenting alternatives [to marble] such as Italian travertine, silvery Alabaman limestone, or Brazilian swirling granite to avoid joining the high number of noteworthy marble failures in the past sixty years. For Barry Mark, vice president of design and construction at Capital One, none of these had the distinctive beauty and character for the vision he had of the project.” [The Architect’s Newspaper]

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After years of delays, arguments and a little arson: Vienna Market at the former Marco Polo restaurant site (245 Maple Avenue) is coming back for review at tonight’s Vienna Board of Architectural Review (BAR) meeting.

The project is a mixed-use development planned to include 44 luxury condominium townhomes and 8,200 square feet of retail.

The designs for the project were approved last September, but Northfield Development and NV Homes are headed back to the BAR after a few errors in the design process came to light.

According to a memo from the Town of Vienna:

  • During the permitting phase of the project, several front façade configurations were shown reversed from the original approved elevation drawings. The facades were modified to match the interior floor plans. The floor plans shown in the original drawings would require stairwells on exterior walls;
  • The final site plan review process revealed an error in the 35′ height calculation on the rear of the parcel that required reducing the height of two additional town homes and removing the roof access structure on one townhome
  • An error in the original rendering showed the end elevations on Church Street in the incorrect lot order. The Church Street elevation schemes have been adjusted to match the front elevation scheme proposed.

Town Code states that any changes to the approved design, even fixing errors, has to be approved.

Rendering via Northfield Construction and Development

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