Tysons, VA

The Town of Vienna has launched an online survey asking renters and homeowners what they think of various potential changes to the town’s residential zoning laws.

The 10-minute survey will be open through Feb. 19. Questions can be submitted to [email protected].

It is the first survey to gauge support or opposition to specific changes that have been proposed as a part of the town’s effort to simplify and update the Town’s subdivision and zoning ordinances.

“We will share all the results on our website, and they will be shared with [a] consultant, as well as the planning commission and the town council,” Vienna Principal Planner Kelly O’Brien said in a virtual meeting on Wednesday (Jan. 13). “This is really getting the overall thoughts of the community.”

Town planners said they are starting with a focus on residential zoning, since a majority of Vienna is residential. More surveys, forums, and meetings are slated for this year to gauge approval for changes to residential and commercial codes.

The initiative is facilitated by Code Create Vienna, the town’s online engagement platform for the zoning code and subdivision ordinance update. The process began in the summer of 2020 and will end in the winter of 2021, when the consultant ZoneCo will present a new code for zoning and subdivision.

Survey questions cover topics such as adding front porches and accessory living units, increasing the space allotted for back patios, requiring open spaces for multifamily dwellings, and building age-restricted cottage housing.

“This is ongoing, iterative process,” O’Brien said. “You don’t have to wait for special meetings.”

ZoneCo recommended these and other potential changes to the Vienna Town Council during a work session on Dec. 3.

Residents can also share their thoughts by taking a more general survey or writing down suggestions for zoning changes, such as preserving outdoor dining, that they come up with while walking or biking around town. Town planners have been hosting regular webinars on specific topics as part of Code Create Vienna’s Lunch & Learn series.

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The McLean Citizens Association approved an extensive resolution on Wednesday (Jan. 6) laying out its views on Fairfax County’s proposed zoning ordinance overhaul.

The Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project, or zMOD, represents Fairfax County’s first major zoning code update since the original document was adopted 40 years ago. A draft was released on Nov. 24, and the planning commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposal on Jan. 28.

MCA expressed general support for the goals of the zMOD initiative but takes issue with several provisions that ease limitations in residential districts and enable more uses through administrative permits instead of the special exceptions process, which requires public hearings and neighbor notifications.

“The administrative permit is pervasive in the county’s proposal as a way to eliminate the need to notify neighbors and for the county staff to solicit neighbors for granting the permit,” MCA board member Steve DelBianco said.

In its resolution, MCA states that it supports the draft ordinance’s framework for allowing newer commercial, public, institutional, and community uses — such as solar power facilities, electric vehicle charging stations, and data centers — that didn’t exist when the zoning code was created.

The organization, which serves as an unofficial town council for McLean residents, is also glad that the ordinance will not supplant or negate agreements between homeowners’ associations and other private parties.

The resolution also notes that the draft ordinance includes a proposal put forward by MCA that will require residences on corner lots to have rear setbacks of at least 25 feet.

However, MCA opposes provisions in the zMOD proposal that would allow property owners to obtain an administrative permit for home-based businesses, accessory living units (ALUs), food trucks, and special for-profit events hosted by home businesses in residential districts.

The organization argues that those uses should need to be approved through a public process, though it could potentially withdraw its objection regarding food trucks if Fairfax County establishes clear standards regulating their operations in residential neighborhoods.

Fairfax County currently only permits ALUs if an occupant of the unit or the main dwelling is at least 55 years old or has a disability. MCA opposes removing that requirement.

Under the draft ordinance, the size limitations for ALUs would expand from 35% of the main structure area to either 800 square feet or 40% of the principal structure. Those restrictions could be exceeded if the ALU fully utilizes the floor area of a basement or cellar.

MCA believes exceptions should only be allowed for ALUs in cellars or basements if they are occupied by a family member who is 55 or older, or who has a disability.

MCA Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Scott Spitzer emphasized that the committee is aware that home-based businesses are becoming more common, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing more people to work from home.

However, MCA does not think the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors should consider allowing home-based businesses to get up to four customers at a time or up to eight customers on-site in a given day, arguing that businesses should be limited to two customers at a time and six customers in one day.

The zMOD draft ordinance proposes that home-based businesses have one designated parking space available per customer.

“The idea here is to not permit large groups that would exceed that designated parking place,” DelBianco said. “…We are trying to balance here the expectations of the neighbors who bought homes in a residential district versus trying to be supportive of those who want to earn money out of a home-based business.”

Video of MCA’s discussion of the zMOD resolution is currently on its Facebook page and will be posted to its website.

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission officially gave its support to plans for a mixed-use development on Merrilee Drive in the Merrifield area last week, voting unanimously on Dec. 9 to recommend that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approve a rezoning application for the project.

Proposed by Elm Street Development under the name Merrilee Ventures, the project envisions replacing the existing three-story office building at 2722 Merrilee Drive with a seven-story, 85-foot-tall residential building with retail and recreational amenities.

The two-acre site is currently zoned for medium-intensity industrial uses. Elm Street submitted an application last December to have it rezoned for planned residential mixed-use development.

“This project represents the next exciting revitalization opportunity in Merrifield and continues the important process of realizing the comprehensive plan vision for this area by closing the development gap between the Dunn Loring Transit Station Area and the Mosaic District,” Providence District Planning Commissioner Phil Niezielski-Eichner said.

The commission’s vote came a week later than expected after it decided on Dec. 2 to defer a decision on Elm Street’s rezoning application due to concerns about the project’s inability to meet urban park space requirements.

The proposed development falls 0.45 acres short of the 0.63 acres of on-site publicly accessible park space that it is supposed to have under the Tysons Comprehensive Plan. To make up for that shortfall, Elm Street has committed to finding at least 0.45 acres of off-site park space or contributing $500,000 to the Fairfax County Park Authority so that it can purchase and develop future park resources in the Merrifield area.

After approving the rezoning application, the planning commission recommended to the Board of Supervisors that county staff “identify specific planning alternatives and potential new mechanisms to realize the implementation of the urban park vision set forth in the Merrifield Suburban Center Comprehensive Plan.”

McGuireWoods managing partner Greg Riegle, a representative for Elm Street, also addressed concerns about parking and stormwater management that were raised at the Dec. 2 public hearing.

While the Merrilee development will not solve existing drainage challenges by itself, it will be a clear improvement over the current site, which is almost entirely paved, Riegle said.

The Merrilee mixed-use project will have 294 parking spaces, including 264 for use by its 239 planned multi-family residential units and 30 for retail use. The developer is seeking to reduce the site’s existing parking by 18%, citing its proximity to the Merrifield-Dunn Loring Metro Station.

Riegle says Elm Street is working to ensure there is sufficient on-site parking to meet the development’s needs and prevent impacts on the surrounding community.

“I’d also note for the record that we are segregating retail parking, so [retail is] clearly divided with the residential,” Riegle said. “It’s not co-mingled to make sure it’s both convenient and there’s an adequate amount available, so hopefully, that’s responsive in the same vein of trying to move the situation collectively forward.”

A Board of Supervisors public hearing on the Merrilee project has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2021.

Photo courtesy Elm Street Development

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously agreed to defer its vote on the mixed-use development planned for Merrilee Drive after holding a public hearing on Wednesday (Dec. 2).

The planning commission will now decide whether to support the rezoning application for the project from Elm Street Development on Dec. 9.

Though he expressed support for the project, Providence District Planning Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner moved to push the decision back by a week after he and other members of the commission raised questions about the availability of park space in the development.

Located at 2722 Merrilee Drive on a site currently occupied by an office building, Elm Street’s project will feature 20,000 total square feet of open space, including a 0.17-acre public park space along the front of the building, two corner pocket parks, and a private dog park for residents, according to a county staff report.

However, the proposal still falls 0.45 acres short of the on-site park space that Fairfax County expects for developments in the Tysons area, including the Merrifield Suburban Center where the Merrilee project is situated.

“This is an exciting next opportunity to continue developing in the Merrifield area and to help more fully realize the suburban center vision for Merrifield,” Niedzielski-Eichner said. “…I think you’ll agree that the park issues, particularly toward the end of the process, were particularly challenging to realize.”

The Tysons Comprehensive Plan requires that developments provide 1.5 acres of public park space for every 1,000 residents and one acre for every 10,000 employees. Under the urban parks standard, Merrilee would need 0.63 acres of on-site public park space.

Fairfax County Senior Planner Kelly Posusney says the failure to meet that standard was the biggest issue with Elm Street’s application when it was accepted for review in March.

County planning staff worked with Elm Street to add as much on-site park space as possible, but they ultimately reached the limit of what they could provide without adding height to the building or other undesired elements.

“Given the size of the development and the type of building, they just couldn’t do any more in terms of meeting the park need,” Fairfax County Park Authority Development Review Chief Andi Dorlester said.

The comprehensive plan does offer alternatives for projects that fall short of the urban park standard. Developers can provide at least 0.45 acres of off-site, publicly accessible parkland. If they are unable to find off-site park space, they can contribute $500,000 to the park authority for the future acquisition and development of park resources in the Merrifield Suburban Center.

According to McGuireWoods managing partner Greg Riegle, who represented Elm Street at the planning commission public hearing, the developer is now looking for properties that could be turned into park space and has committed to contributing $500,000 if the land isn’t found.

When Braddock District Planning Commissioner Mary Cortina expressed concern that the money would end up sitting unused in an escrow or proffer account, Riegle emphasized that the developer’s “strong preference” is to find park space, potentially by combining resources with other land owners as other development applications for the area come in.

“I think time is our friend,” Riegle said. “We’ve got a lot of good leadership in Merrifield and the Providence District, and we’re committed to finding a solution for all the reasons you stated.”

Photo courtesy Elm Street Development

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The mixed-use development that Elm Street Development has envisioned for the Dunn Loring Center remains on track for realization.

In a report released on Nov. 18, Fairfax County staff recommends that the county planning commission approve the developer’s application to rezone the two-acre site at 2722 Merrilee Drive for planned residential mixed-use zoning.

Located less than half a mile from the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station, 2722 Merrilee Drive is currently occupied by a three-story office building that was originally constructed in 1984. The site is zoned for an I-4 medium intensity industrial district.

Under the name Merrilee Ventures L.C., Elm Street Development first submitted a proposal for turning Dunn Loring Center into a mixed-use development to Fairfax County on Dec. 9. The application was accepted on Mar. 5.

The developer proposes transforming the existing office building into a seven-story, 85-foot building with 239 multifamily residential units across five floors.

The bottom two floors will consist of an above-grade parking structure with 294 parking spaces – 264 for residential use and 30 for retail use – as well as two loading spaces, a trash enclosure, and a bike storage room, according to the Fairfax County staff report.

Amenities proposed for the development include an expanded streetscape along Merrilee Drive, a retail plaza adjacent to the nearby mixed-use apartment building Halstead Square, public open and park spaces, a dog park for residents in the building’s northwest corner, and other private indoor and outdoor spaces for residents, such as a pool, grilling stations, and a fitness center.

The project will occupy 235,235 square feet total with a floor area ratio of 2.70.

“The proposed development would contribute to the revitalization and development of the Merrifield Suburban Center and Transit Station Area through the provision of high-quality design and pedestrian facilities that are appropriate to the ‘Main Street’ designation of Merrilee Drive,” county planning staff say in their report.

In addition to seeking to rezone the site, Elm Street has asked Fairfax County to approve the proposed reduction of 18% of the property’s existing parking.

“Fewer parking spaces than would be required in the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance will be necessary to accommodate future on-site parking demand because of the site’s proximity to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station,” the engineering consultant Gorove Slade says in a parking reduction study prepared on May 19. “A parking reduction would not adversely affect the surrounding areas.”

Elm Street says on-street parking will be provided on Merrilee Drive and on a proposed private street that could eventually be extended to connect Merrilee with Dorr Avenue to the west.

Fairfax County staff say the planning commission should approve the parking reduction request “based on the proximity of the development to mass transit facilities.”

According to the report, Elm Street has committed to making 16.6% of the residential units in the new development workforce dwelling units. A third of those units will be priced at 80% of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area’s area median income, a third will be at the AMI, and the last third will be at 120% of the AMI.

Since the existing property has few existing trees, the developer has proposed adding about 8,962 square feet of tree canopy coverage, which Fairfax County staff says would exceed the county’s comprehensive plan requirements.

In another proffer, Elm Street has said it will contribute $12,262 to Fairfax County for each of the 27 new students that the Dunn Loring Center development is expected to add to the public school system. Children who live in the development will attend Shrevewood Elementary, Kilmer Middle, and Marshall High Schools.

The full staff report for the Merrilee proposal can be found through Fairfax County’s land development system.

A Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing on the Merrilee application has been set for 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2, and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on Jan. 26, 2021 at 3:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy Elm Street Development

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The City of Falls Church wants to expand its stock of affordable housing, but exactly how it should achieve that remains up for debate.

One option currently under consideration is updating the zoning ordinance’s special exception section, which has become a reliable tool for encouraging mixed-use development.

Under a preliminary proposal presented to the Falls Church City Council on Monday (Nov. 16), the criteria for evaluating possible development projects would be amended to incentivize the inclusion of affordable housing units, allow for smaller structures, and better reflect the current state of the commercial real estate market.

“With the economy changing and obviously the future of work and commercial space probably looking pretty different, I do think it’s time for us to modernize this,” City Councilmember Letti Hardy said. “…I know this is something that’s really important to the city and not something we want to take lightly.”

The special exception provisions in Falls Church’s zoning code permit mixed-use development and taller building heights than what is otherwise allowed in underdeveloped commercial areas that the city identified as sites that could be revitalized in its 2005 Comprehensive Plan.

The so-called Planning Opportunity Areas, including downtown Falls Church and West Broad Street, were officially designated as revitalization districts in 2016.

To qualify for consideration under the special exception provision, development proposals must be consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan, show a significant net increase in the site’s new commercial square footage, and generate positive net new commercial and residential revenue.

Developers can get an exemption from the latter two criteria if at least 75% of the residential units in their project qualify as affordable housing.

The special exception provision has facilitated the completion of 10 mixed-use projects in Falls Church since 2003, all but one of which have brought in revenue for the city. Four more are now in the works, including Founders Row, the West Falls Church redevelopment, and the Broad and Washington project.

However, there have also been projects that fell through because they were unable to meet the code’s criteria without adding height and density that drew objections from surrounding neighborhoods.

Falls Church Planning Director Paul Stoddard says a proposed development at Tradition Place collapsed in 2016 after the developer started making the building taller to compensate for the net commercial square footage requirements and concessions to the city that were under discussion.

A Park & Lee development application submitted in 2017 failed to obtain approval after facing similar obstacles.

“Because there was some existing commercial [area] on the property, they were not able to meet that net increase in commercial in order to get through without making the project more dense, which was an issue for the community surrounding it,” Falls Church City Senior Planner Shaina Schaffer said.

In addition, none of the special exception projects approved by the city have met the threshold of 75% affordable housing needed to forgo the requirement for adding commercial space, which is less in demand now, especially for traditional office and retail uses.

To address these issues, the Falls Church planning staff is recommending that the city council amend the zoning ordinance so that projects only have to provide new commercial space, rather than adding to the existing square footage. They also say the 75% affordable housing threshold should be reviewed to see if it should be lowered to be more feasible.

Councilmember Debora Hiscott suggested that city staff should reach out to contacts in the developer community to get a sense of what percentage of affordable housing would be palatable for them.

“If we want to know what will bring [affordable housing] in, I think who better to ask than the people who’d be bringing it in?” Hiscott said. “Then we can make decisions from there whether it’s palatable for our community, whether it meets our goals, and brings in that revenue.”

Photo via City of Falls Church Government/Facebook

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While one battle continues in the courtroom, a new front has opened up in the McLean area’s protracted war against Newport Academy, a for-profit rehabilitation program for teenagers and their families.

Newport Academy recently leased two properties on Plantation Drive in Great Falls that it plans to turn into residential facilities for teens with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health issues, according to a letter from the company’s legal representatives to Fairfax County Zoning Administrator Leslie Johnson.

Sent on Oct. 8, the letter asks Fairfax County to affirm that the proposed use would constitute a group residential facility and, therefore, would be a by-right use, meaning it would not need to go through the county’s zoning approval process.

“The physical characteristics of the Property are ideal for such a group home,” the letter says, highlighting the property’s distance from adjacent sites, one of which has no residents. “The Property also boasts beautiful outdoor space, including both a covered and uncovered deck, and significant grounds.”

In the letter, McGuireWoods attorney Sean Murphy and Relman Colfax partner Michael Allen state that the property in question – a 10,390 square-foot home located at 11740 Plantation Drive – “contains ample space for parking,” including a garage and circular driveway, and “presents no problems for parking or local traffic.”

The law firm also sent a separate request for a use determination on the property at 11901 Plantation Drive, which would be used for the same purpose.

Newport Academy’s potential new neighbors disagree with its characterization of the two properties.

The residents who own the six other properties on Plantation Drive, which is just north of Route 7, wrote their own letter to Johnson on Nov. 3 asking the county’s zoning administration division to deny Newport Academy’s requests.

The residents argue that Newport Academy’s proposal would violate the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance because its patients could count as transient occupants instead of residents, and because it would exceed the eight-person limit for group homes if the two leased properties are combined into a single facility.

The residents also say Plantation Drive is an “inappropriate” location for Newport Academy’s proposed facility, which would have adverse impacts on traffic and pedestrian safety.

“The proposed use presents substantial and untenable risks of harm from significant additional traffic, including large trucks, on the single lane driveway,” the residents stated. “This driveway is used by pedestrians, including children walking to and from their bus stop. There have been numerous incidents involving vehicles on the driveway in recent years.”

Newport Academy previously attracted residents’ ire when it sought to open two rehabilitation facilities along Davidson Road and on Kurtz Road in McLean.

Johnson determined in May 2019 that, since it would consist of three adjacent properties, the proposed Davidson Road facility would constitute a congregate living facility, which is not a by-right use.

Johnson found that the Kurtz Road site, on the other hand, would qualify as a group residential facility. The county board of zoning appeals ultimately upheld her decision on Mar. 11, leading residents from the surrounding neighborhood to file a lawsuit that is still waiting to be heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

“Due to the ongoing legal process regarding our home on Kurtz Road, we cannot comment on the matter,” Newport Healthcare Senior Director of Communications Kristen Hayes said when asked about the lawsuit.

Newport Academy has been operating a residential treatment program for adolescent girls at 1318 Kurtz Road in McLean since Mar. 22.

Plantation Drive resident Norman Chirite believes similarities to the situation with Davidson Road suggest that he and his neighbors have sufficient grounds to oppose Newport Academy’s request.

He will present their case to the Great Falls Citizens Association during its land use and zoning committee meeting tonight (Tuesday).

“I think what they’re doing is pretty problematic,” Chirite said. “It’s like they didn’t get what they wanted in McLean so they just moved down the road, and you know, we’re going to fight back a little bit.”

Unlike the Davidson Road properties, though, the houses on Plantation Drive have already been used as group residential facilities. They previously belonged to Sagebrush Treatment Center, which operated treatment programs for adult men recovering from substance abuse.

Newport Academy says that its plans for the property will be less intensive than how it has been used for the past three years.

The company says that the services it plans to provide through the facilities on Plantation Drive will be “a key resource,” especially as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates mental health issues for many people.

“Many teens lack access to quality treatment for mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and trauma, or face long waiting lists for programs,” Hayes said. “…We look forward to expanding in this area to provide these much-needed mental health treatment services for teens.”

Photo via Google Maps

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How often should a homeowner have to reassure the county that their granny flat is a granny flat?

That is one of many questions facing Fairfax County as it continues working toward the first major overhaul of its zoning ordinance in 40 years.

Providence District Planning Commissioner Phil Niedzielski-Eichner attempted to answer some of those questions in a discussion with the Providence District Council on Oct. 14 that also touched on development and housing.

The importance of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project, or zMOD, has become increasingly apparent as housing affordability challenges persist and more people work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Niedzielski-Eichner says.

“We want, on the one hand, to increase the opportunity for people to afford to live in the community,” Niedzielski-Eichner said. “We want to allow for the potential of people working out of their homes. We want to recognize that that’s an evolving reality. At the same time, we’re sensitive to protecting the neighborhood and don’t want it to cause parking problems and other neighborhood issues.”

Among the biggest proposed changes to the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance are new regulations for accessory living units, which generally known as accessory dwelling units but got a name change in Fairfax to avoid confusion with affordable dwelling units.

Defined as “subordinate living spaces with areas for eating, sleeping, living, and sanitation,” ALUs are currently only allowed in Fairfax County if an occupant of the unit or the principal dwelling is 55-plus years old or has a disability.

Under Fairfax County’s most recent draft zoning ordinance, which has been available for public comment since June 30, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors would have the option of eliminating the age and disability requirements for an accessory living unit.

The draft ordinance also outlines a new process for homeowners to get approval for an ALU.

Currently, homeowners currently have to attend a public hearing if they want to add an ALU, but the proposed zoning ordinance allows property owners to instead apply for an administrative or special permit that would need to be renewed every five years.

Niedzielski-Eichner says county staff is considering requiring renewal every two years instead of five, as they try to acknowledge concerns about the potential impact of accessory living units on neighborhoods without overly burdening property owners.

“We already know that people are doing accessory living units outside of the context of permitting or any regulation,” the Providence District planning commissioner said. “If we make it so difficult that people don’t want to enter into the process, then we lose the ability to influence the quality of that process and how it’s implemented.”

The Fairfax County Planning Commission’s land use process review committee is scheduled to have a discussion on zMOD this Thursday (Oct. 22) at 7:30 p.m.

Other land use and zoning challenges facing Fairfax County, especially a district like Providence that spans urbanizing centers like Tysons and older neighborhoods like Mantua, include expanding the availability of affordable and workforce housing, and ensuring that county services and infrastructure keep pace with development.

Niedzielski-Eichner says he has advocated for the county to become more data-driven when making decisions, such as altering policies around ALUs, that could potentially change the character of a neighborhood.

“It’s all about community confidence,” Niedzielski-Eichner said. “I feel that we have to do those things so that the community will come along with the policy and have confidence that it follows their best interests.”

Image via Providence District Council

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Fairfax County is in the process of overhauling the outdated sections of its zoning ordinance, and Supervisor Dalia Palchik will be on hand tonight to address any questions locals might have about some of the upcoming zoning changes.

The Zoom meeting is scheduled tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. and is open to all residents of the Providence District.

“Join the Providence District Council in attending this virtual community outreach meeting hosted by District Supervisor Dalia Palchik to learn from Planning and Development staff, ask questions and provide feedback on the zMOD Consolidated Draft,” the Providence District Council said in an email.

A 711 page draft document contains all of the planned changes. Many are modernizations that bring Fairfax’s zoning language in line with state and federal regulations to reduce confusion, such as renaming “home childcare facility” to “home daycare facility” and adding new classifications of residential uses, like accessory living units.

Questions can be submitted in advance via email to [email protected]

Image via Fairfax County

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Restaurants and businesses in the Town of Vienna can take advantage of outside spaces for the next seven months.

Last night, the Vienna Town Council voted to extend a temporary waiver on commercial activity outside in hopes of helping local businesses stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses are utilizing parking lots and sidewalks in hopes of attracting more customers as they operate under state and local rules capacity restrictions and social distancing guidelines. As the pandemic continues, customers are gauging how safe they feel inside or outside — with some people opting to limit their time inside businesses.

“We have got to do this to keep our businesses going,” Councilmember Howard Springsteen said.

The Vienna Town Council first approved the emergency ordinance on June 1 and then readopted it on June 15. Before the town officials voted last night, the temporary waiver was set to last until Sept. 30.

Now, town businesses will have until March 31, 2021 to apply for and use temporary emergency outdoor commercial activity permits, which Town Manager Mercury Payton authorizes. Payton can also waive regulations for signage and conditional use permits for outdoor dining activities.

After Councilmember Nisha Patel pushed the town to consider a similar waiver for non-commercial zones, Colbert suggested calling for an emergency session on Friday for the Vienna Town Council to consider the proposal.

Patel said that she knows of private schools that would like to use outdoor space for teaching. “If you can get the kids out of the classroom and out into the open air, I think is safer in general,” Patel said.

Photo via Vienna Business Association/Facebook

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