Tysons Corner, VA

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 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.

The Planning Commission will also hold a public hearing.

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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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(Updated at 11 a.m.) A moratorium on new development applications for Maple Avenue set to expire in November may get extended again.

The Vienna Town Council is set to request tonight (Sept. 16) that staff schedule a public hearing on Nov. 4 to discuss extending the suspension of the Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) Zone to June 2020. The matter would also go to the town’s Planning Commission.

The Town Council first put the moratorium in place last September to allow the town staff time to redesign the town’s guidelines. The moratorium was set to expire in June, but the Town Council voted to extend it to Nov. 15.

So far, the Vienna Town Council has approved four MAC projects:

  • a combination Chick-fil-A and Flagship Carwash Center at 540 W. Maple Avenue that has received public backlash
  • townhouse-style condominiums with retail at the northeast corner of W. Maple Avenue and Pleasant Street NW
  • a much-debated redevelopment that would add ground-floor retail and more than three dozen multi-family residential condominium units to 380 Maple Avenue
  • a controversial redevelopment of 430, 440 and 444 W. Maple Avenue into a four-story mixed-use development

The Town Council has also killed a MAC project — a proposed Sunrise Senior Living Facility at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street. Sunrise is suing the Town Council for allegedly discriminating against seniors and people with disabilities.

The Town Council meeting tonight will start at 8 p.m.

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The Vienna Police Department is looking for the three women who reportedly stole merchandise from a cosmetics store along Maple Avenue.

An employee at Sally Beauty (329 E. Maple Avenue) reported to the police that three women concealed multiple items of merchandise before fleeing the store, according to a police report.

The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. last Tuesday (Sept. 10).

In a separate incident, a Vienna resident in the 900 block of Frederick Street SW reported to the police that “someone intentionally damaged a tree she recently planted” between Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7, police said.

The police department also received nine recent reports from people who said their cars had been rummaged through.

Photo via Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

Police Identify Tysons East Crash Victim — “Police said Megan E. Bell, 28, of Herndon, was the driver and only occupant of a Honda Civic involved in the single-vehicle crash that occurred at 2:34 a.m. along the Dulles Access Road (Route 267), a quarter-mile west of Route 123 in Tysons, according to Virginia State Police.” [The Washington Post]

Pizza Place Coming to Falls Church — Joel Salamone “is bringing his hometown specialty, along with Buffalo-style pizza, to the Little City when Baddpizza (stylized ‘baddpizza’) opens in the Broadale Village Shopping Center this November.” [Falls Church News-Press]

New Economic Development Alliance — Ten jurisdictions including Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church have teamed up to create the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance. [NOVA EDA]

County Pushing Car-Free Week — Fairfax County, Fairfax Connector “and other regional transportation partners are offering commuters the chance to win great prizes during Try Transit Week (Sept. 16-20, 2019) and Car Free Days (Sept. 21-23, 2019).” [Fairfax County]

Crash in Merrifield This Morning — Firefighters and rescue personnel were on the scene of a two-car crash at Williams Drive and Arlington Boulevard in the Merrifield area around 7:50 a.m. “Minor entrapment of occupants. Crews worked quickly to free. Two minor injuries.” [Twitter]

Site of Closed Falls Church Bookstore Bought — “The former site of Hole in the Wall Books, which shuttered at the end of last month after 40 years of business, was purchased by David Yeakel, Jr., an attorney who owns a practice next door to the former used bookstore on W. Broad St.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Town of Vienna Wants Website Feedback — “Last call for letting our website design team know what you think about the Town’s current site. This survey closes Monday evening.” [Twitter]

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The Town of Vienna Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify a suspect linked to dirt bike theft along Maple Avenue.

Police tweeted that they are looking for the “subject seen at the Shell gas station (545 W. Maple Avenue) attempting to put a stolen dirt bike into a possible silver 2002 Mercedes CLK320.”

The incident happened around 4 a.m. Wednesday (Sept. 11). Police said the dirt bike was reported stolen from Paris Court SW.

“The subject is a black male, mid 30s, 6’2, slender, short cut beard, bald,” police said. “He was last seen wearing a tan cap, light grey or white shirt and black jeans.”

Image via Google Maps

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A young Vienna resident is the recipient of a national honor recognizing upcoming leaders in the scientific community.

Siona Prasad recently won the Davidson Fellow Scholarship for her work in environmental science and climate change, which included $25,000 in college tuition assistance at Harvard University, where she began studies this fall.

Leading up to this moment, Prasad said she applied for this award several times in the past and was thrilled when she finally became a recipient.

“My family was very proud and we were all excited about the scholarship,” she said. “It means the world to be recognized for my work.”

She added that being included in the network of other fellows and alumni network is also an honor. Prasad will attend a ceremonial dinner for the award on Sept. 27 in D.C.

The Davidson Scholarship awards young adults age 18 or younger with scholarship money who demonstrate outstanding achievements in the scientific community. Applicants must be either the lead student scientist on a project or conduct it independently, according to the scholarship website.

Throughout her high school career at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, she worked with researchers and professors at the University of Maryland to develop low-cost CO2 sensors that were easy to scale and implement in cities.

These sensors can detect where greenhouse gasses are emitted from within city limits and allow the government and environmental research agencies to ultimately combat the effects of climate change, according to a Davidson Institute press release.

“We have less than a decade to solve the biggest environmental crisis we have ever faced,” she said.

Across D.C., Prasad said she was able to install nine sensors on places like telephone polls and collect data that is now in the hands of University of Maryland professors.

Before the project, Prasad said she was always interested in the environment and was particularly motivated when former President Barack Obama’s asked if this generation is doing all they can to prepare a better future in his 2016 State of the Union address. Prasad said she wanted to answer his query with an honest “yes.”

Prasad said she plans to study computer science and environmental science at Harvard, adding that she’s also interested in entrepreneurship and startup companies.

“Technology is one of the most powerful weapons we have against climate change,” Prasad said.

Photo via Davidson Institute

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Updated at 9:15 a.m. — A Dominion Energy spokesperson said at 10:25 p.m. Wednesday night that all of the power outages have been resolved.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. — Dominion Energy’s power outage map now shows five power outages affecting a total of 4,049 customers from Glyndon Street NE to I-66.

Earlier: Widespread power outages hit the Vienna area, leaving more than 4,000 Dominion Energy customers without power today (Wednesday).

An outage affecting 3,601 customers stretches from Glyndon Street NE in Vienna past the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station to Fairhill Elementary School, according to Dominion Energy’s power outage map.

Four other power outages affecting roughly 1,400 customers are also reported in the Vienna area.

The causes of the outages are pending investigation. Dominion expects power to be restored between 4-9 p.m.

A downed power line caused S. Center Street between Locust Street SE and E. Maple Avenue to close, the Town of Vienna tweeted at 3 p.m.

The Town of Vienna tweeted at 3:32 p.m. that activities at the Vienna Community Center have been canceled due to the power outage, which is expected to be resolved in two to four hours.

First map via Dominion Energy, second map via Google Maps

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Chick-fil-A is now looking to hire workers as the restaurant chain prepares to open in the Town of Vienna.

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

Franchise owner Jeff Hubley 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.

Construction is still in progress on the project, which was one of several new projects approved under the town’s contentious Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zoning process.

The site has faced a series of delays and public backlash.

No word yet on when the Chick-fil-A or the carwash will open.

Last image via Town of Vienna Planning and Zoning 

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The local branch of a veterans organization is set to host a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in the Town of Vienna.

Based in Vienna, American Legion Post 180 holds the ceremony every year.

The ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 11) — the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks — at the Freeman House lawn at 131 Church Street NE.

The Freeman House is a historic country store that was once occupied by both Confederate and Union Army troops during the Civil War.

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