Tysons, VA

The Chick-fil-A in Vienna officially opened its doors this morning (Thursday) with a promotion for free food.

Starting at 6 p.m. last night (Nov. 20), community members were encouraged to camp out in front of the store at 538 W. Maple Avenue with the promise that the first 100 customers in line this morning for the official opening at 6 a.m. would be given free meals for a year.

Around 104 people showed up for the grand opening celebration that featured Mayor Laurie DiRocco and other town representatives, according to a company spokesperson.

The campout is a standing tradition for all new location openings, according to Chick-fil-A’s website.

From now on, the location will be open 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and closed on Sundays.

The new location features a drive-thru as well as an indoor dining room, playroom and outdoor seating.

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The Town of Vienna has a new, two-story carwash along Maple Avenue.

Flagship Carwash announced that it opened on Friday (Nov. 15) and plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 19), according to a press release.

The company claims that the two-story design allows the carwash to utilize the land. “It completely encompasses all aspects of the wash process keeping our neighbors happy and free from noise and trash, which is common with this type of business,” Owner Guy Paolozzi said in a statement.

In addition to the full-service wash, cars can also get a free vacuuming, according to the press release. Flagship Carwash’s Vienna location is open from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Sunday.

“All services are indoors so customers and more importantly employees don’t have to brave the weather. Vienna is a great community, and we are proud to be the first MAC application to be built,” Paolozzi said.

Below the carwash, Chick-fil-A will occupy the ground floor of the building at 540 W. Maple Avenue. The chicken chain announced on Facebook that the new location is set to hold a grand opening on Thursday (Nov. 21).

Image via Flagship Carwash/Facebook

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Chick-fil-A is preparing to open along Maple Avenue.

The chicken chain announced on Facebook that the new location is set to hold a grand opening next Thursday (Nov. 21).

Franchise owner Jeff Hubley previously said that he is looking to hire up to 100 people for full- and part-time positions, including leadership development, hospitality and training, according to a press release. Employees can expect to have Sundays off and scholarship opportunities for continuing education.

“We still have several positions available for our Daytime Front of House team (breakfast and lunch hours), which has a full-time offering of $15/hour,” according to the Facebook post.

The restaurant will be on the ground floor of a building that will also house a Flagship Carwash on the second floor at 540 W. Maple Avenue.

Image via Town of Vienna

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The Vienna Market is moving forward in the Town of Vienna after a long back-and-forth over the project’s designs.

The project plans to replace the Marco Polo building and other surrounding properties with 44 condominiums and 8,200 square feet of retail space — along with an underground parking garage — to 245  W. Maple Avenue. Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review approved the project in chunks, with the final approval on Sept. 19.

But in October, Residents Charles and Laura Anderson sought to appeal the BAR’s approval of the rear architectural designs and plans for the Vienna Market, claiming that the approved plans — especially the rear facades — violated the Maple Avenue general design criteria and the Town Code.

At that meeting, the developers, NV Homes and Northfield, proposed a compromise — wrapping brick from the front onto the rear of townhomes — to make the rear facades consistent with the front and side facades.

The Town Council approved a motion to modify the BAR’s decisions on Sept. 19 and Aug. 15 regarding the four rear facades of the townhomes.

After the BAR’s work session last Friday (Nov. 1), the Town Council approved the architectural changes on Monday (Nov. 4).

“This decision establishes that the term ‘public view’ applies to all facades of commercial buildings visible from a public street,” Councilmember Pasha Majdi said.

Councilmember Nisha Patel lauded the developer and community working together to reach a compromise.

“I think it’s a great win-win,” Patel said.

“I think this makes for a better project,” Mayor Laurie DiRocco said.

Image via Town of Vienna

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Sunrise is eyeing the site of an approved mixed-use development after the Vienna Town Council killed plans for a Sunrise facility farther up Maple Avenue.

Now, Sunrise wants to open an assisted living facility at 380 Maple Avenue, according to a Nov. 1 submission to the town.

That spot is currently the site of a contentious, approved redevelopment, which would add a four-floor building with ground-floor retail and multi-family condominium units at 380 Maple Avenue.

From Families to Seniors

The Vienna Town Council approved the plans for 380 Maple Avenue in June. But after new councilmembers joined in July, the Vienna Town Council decided to hold a public hearing on possibly rescinding the rezoning application.

In September, Dennis Rice, the owner and developer behind an approved mixed-use development at 380 Maple Avenue, told the Vienna Town Council that selling the project to an assisted living facility could address neighbors’ lingering concerns.

“I think the town needs an assisted living facility, and it’s a good location for it,” Rice told the council in September, adding that having the development house seniors instead of families would eliminate concerns about the number of new students going to local schools.

First Proposed Facility Faced Backlash

Sunrise’s original plans to bring a facility to the Maple Avenue and Center Street received a myriad of concerns from residents and councilmembers over parking, retail and the downtown location.

In June, outgoing Councilmember Tara Bloch put forward a motion to approve the project, which would have needed five “yes” votes to pass because of a protest petition, and the Town Council ended up rejecting the proposed 82-unit facility with a 3-4 vote.

A month later, Sunrise Senior Living decided to sue Vienna officials for $30 million, alleging that the Town Council’s rejection violated the Virginia Fair Housing Law by discriminating against seniors and people with disabilities and that the Town Council treated Sunrise differently from other developers seeking rezoning under the Maple Avenue Commercial Zone.

The Town of Vienna disputes the allegation that the council violated the Virginia Fair Housing Law, according to Town Attorney Steve Briglia.

Next Steps 

Town officials will soon look over Sunrise’s new plans.

The Board of Architectural Review is scheduled to discuss the facility at its work session tomorrow (Friday) at 8 a.m.

Next Wednesday (Nov. 13), the Planning Commission’s work session is set to focus on a proposed proffer amendment and conditional use permit for Sunrise.

Image via Town of Vienna 

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The Vienna Town Council now has until the start of next summer to redesign the Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zone.

The moratorium was put in place last September to allow the town staff time to redesign the town’s guidelines. The moratorium has been extended several times and most recently was scheduled to expire later this November.

While one female resident spoke in favor of the extension during the public hearing last night (Monday), resident C. John Pott told the Town Council that he wants to see an outside consultant share how other places are handling commercial and residential challenges.

“I think it’s very important we get a consultant with national experience and knowledge,” he said, adding that the Town Council also should have a financial analysis regarding the ordinance and affordable housing guidelines included.

Last night, the Vienna Town Council voted unanimously to extend the moratorium to June 30.

Councilmember Douglas Noble said he does not want the Town Council to miss another deadline for revamping the guidelines.

“If we were a business, we would not be doing very well,” Noble said, adding that he wants to see the town update its code and commercial zones by next spring.

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Some parts of the design plans for the Vienna Market project are heading back to the drawing table.

Back in the spring, Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) called the proposed plans rigid, plain and unbecoming for Maple Avenue and continued working with the developer to tweak the plans.

The project plans to replace the Marco Polo building and other surrounding properties with 44 condominiums and 8,200 square feet of retail space — along with an underground parking garage — to 245  W. Maple Avenue.

The BAR approved the project in chunks, with the final approval on Sept. 19.

Appeal Attempt 

Residents Charles and Laura Anderson sought to get the Board of Architectural Review’s approval of the rear architectural designs and plans for the Vienna Market appealed.

In a letter dated Oct. 1 to the town clerk, the Andersons claimed that the approved plans violate the Maple Avenue general design criteria and the Town Code, saying that the facades of the rear are not consistent with the front and side facades.

“As approved, the rear facades of four of the five townhouse rows along the proposed Vienna Market Lane consist almost entirely of siding material with no brick; whereas the front and side facades consist almost entirely of brick with no siding,” the Andersons wrote.

The Town Council considered the appeal at a meeting on Monday (Oct. 21).

“Since the structures won’t be coming out of the ground, I’m told, until November or December at the very earliest, there’s time to do this and get it right,” Charles Anderson said at the meeting.

Anderson’s concerns seemed to resonate with many residents and some of the councilmembers.

“I’m concerned that [if] I lived back there I would want to be looking at something halfway decent,” Councilmember Howard Springsteen said.

Public’s Input 

The Vienna residents who testified during the public hearing about the project on Monday stressed that all of the sides of the buildings can be clearly seen.

“It’s seen from all sides,” one resident testified. “There is really not a back to this building in my opinion.”

Residents asked that the Church Street facade have the same attractiveness as the Pleasant Street and Maple Street facades.

“This is right across the street from the historic district,” another resident said. “We get one chance to get this right.”

Several residents, including the Andersons, said that town officials might be able to avoid future controversies if residents have more opportunities to provide input.

“The citizens of this town need to brought into these conversations in an earlier stage,” Charles Anderson said.

Motion to Move Forward 

After the public hearing, Councilmember Pasha Majdi suggested a motion to reverse the BAR’s decision on Sept. 19 to approve Vienna Market. Repand to BAR

“I have no interest in cutting a deal tonight or making architectural designs,” Majdi said. “I think that’s a poor way to make decisions way outside my expertise.”

After Majdi presented his motion, the developer proposed a compromise that would wrap brick on the rear of two of the four rows of townhomes.

Nisha Patel said that she would like to see a compromise, but wants to see renderings of the proposal.

“I would be really cautious to undo the entire approval that happened at the Sept. 19 because there were a whole bunch of other things that were approved,” Councilmember Douglas Noble said.

Majdi then amended his motion to modify the BAR’s decisions Sept. 19 and Aug. 15 and to direct the BAR to consult with the Town Council before Town Council’s next scheduled meeting on the project.

When Noble proposed an amendment to Majdi’s motion to keep the modification specific to the four rear facades of the townhomes parallel to the Bank of America property and facing Market Square.

The Town Council approved both Noble’s amendment and Majdi’s motion.

“I do think we should move on this as quickly as possible,” Mayor Laurie DiRocco said.

Renderings via Town of Vienna

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Vienna officials are taking another stab at outstanding details in the design plans for the Vienna Market project.

The project is set to replace the Marco Polo building and other surrounding properties with 44 townhouse condominiums, a 2,700-square-foot landscaped plaza and retail space at 245 W. Maple Avenue. Currently, the project is in the second phase, awaiting site plan revisions and building permit approval.

Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review (BAR) decried plans for the project as too boring during its meeting in May.

When the board made a motion at its August meeting to approve the development, it excluded some items for further review before approval.

Now, the project is coming back to BAR tomorrow night (Thursday). The board is set to review the project’s lighting plan, sidewalk landscape plan in front of the retail space and types of brick of some of the units and retail, according to town documents.

The meeting is set to start at 8 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 19).

Images via Town of Vienna

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Vienna residents will have the opportunity to share their input on the Vienna Town Council possibly extending the moratorium on new development applications for Maple Avenue.

The Vienna Town Council requested Monday night (Sept. 16) that staff schedule a public hearing on Nov. 4 to discuss extending the suspension of the Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) Zone from Nov. 15 to June 2020. The Planning Commission will also hold a public hearing.

The Town Council first put the moratorium in place last September to allow the town staff time to redesign the town’s guidelines. So far, the Vienna Town Council has approved four MAC projects and rejected one.

Councilmember Nisha Patel said that while she supports extending the moratorium, she would like to see the Town Council vote on new MAC guidelines before June. Mayor Laurie DiRocco said that town staff aims to have the plan go before the council by February.

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The owner of a mixed-use development told the Vienna Town Council that selling the project to an assisted living facility could address neighbors’ lingering concerns.

Dennis Rice, the owner of J.D.A. Custom Homes, told the Vienna Town Council at a work session last Monday (Sept. 9) that assisted living facilities are interested in buying his mixed-use development at 380 Maple Avenue.

“I think the town needs an assisted living facility, and it’s a good location for it,” Rice said.

Rice said that he has talked with interested assisted living facilities about plans to address lingering concerns from neighbors about the project by:

  • moving back the fourth floor by 15 feet so that it isn’t as close to nearby properties
  • reducing the number of entrances on Wade Hampton Road
  • adding a walking entrance to Maple Avenue
  • removing the balconies
  • keeping the width of Wade Hampton Road to 36 feet
  • including a cafe for visitors, residents and the public in the retail space

“I don’t want to name any particular companies,” Rice said. “We tried to come up with an outline that would address as many of the issues as we could.”

Rice also said that if the development houses seniors instead of families, it would eliminate concerns about the number of new students going to local schools. He added that traffic turning left out of the project could be controlled more if the drivers are employees of the facility instead of residents.

“We could approach six of seven major concerns,” he said, adding that he thinks the assisted living option for the development would be the “least onerous one to the neighbors.”

Rice reassured the Town Council that the building height would stay at 54 feet.

“Is this something worth allowing an assisted living company to pursue?” Rice asked the Town Council.

Councilmember Nisha Patel advised Rice to reach out to neighbors to get input on whether or not they have a preference for the building to become an assisted living facility or not.

“Obviously the property owner can sell to whoever they want to,” Mayor Laurie DiRocco said at the work session.

The interest in turning the approved development into an assisted living facility comes on the heels of the Town Council killing a proposed Sunrise Senior Living Facility at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street. (Sunrise is currently suing the Town Council for allegedly discriminating against seniors and people with disabilities.)

The rejected Sunrise project came up several times during the councilmembers’ discussions about issues they would want to avoid — parking being the main one — if an assisted living facility buys 380 Maple Avenue.

DiRocco said that if Rice does sell the property to an assisted living facility, “I do think having a type of additional parking would be key.”

Rice said that the development has “more than ample parking” and that the companies he spoke to said that they have a no-driving policy. “I think by reducing the number of entrances, we pick up more parking on Wade Hampton,” Rice said.

If Rice sells the development to an assisted living facility, the new owner would need to bring changes to the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Town Council for approval.

“I see the advantages of having an assisted living. I think that would be great,” Councilmember Linda Colbert said, adding that the Town Council would to “be smart about parking.”

“I think some of the changes to the building would be nice,” Colbert said.

Photo via Town of Vienna Planning and Zoning

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