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Debate on the Beulah Road Property Continues

Citizens Dismayed over Town's Plan; Town Council to Address Plan at April 19 Meeting

During the Town of Vienna's leaf-mulching season, Jen Folts' grandchildren run from the car into their grandmother's house in Vienna. They run because they can't stand the smell that comes from the leaf-mulching operation on the neighboring Beulah Road property, according to Folts.

"The odor is horrendous," Folts said.

Folts and 15 other citizens spoke against the Town's plan for the Beulah Road property at Monday's Vienna Town Council meeting. The citizens had received the plan, written by Town staff, that Monday, and had come to protest the suggestions for the property stated in the plan.

The citizens and the Town have been grappling with what is the best use of the Beulah Road property, which is the town's leaf-mulching site. Although the citizens who spoke supported the Town's leaf-mulching operation, they questioned the operation's environmental impact on the land, as well as the smells and loud noise that result from the operation.

In response to citizen concerns, the Town drafted a plan for the property, located at 442 Beulah Road, N.E., which will be discussed by the Town Council at the April 19 Council meeting.

But citizens expressed opinions that the plan had ignored their observations and suggestions for the site and dismissed the information they had collected on the site. The Northeast Vienna Citizens Association (NEVCA) had created a committee for the Beulah Road property, which gathered data and background on the property since the 1960s, and created a resolution on how the Town and citizens should work together to draft a plan for the site.

"Had we been listened to, we wouldn't be so emotional about this," said Vienna resident Betty Collins.

TOWN COUNCIL members responded that the plan was necessary in order to facilitate dialogue on the property. They also added that the plan is preliminary and subject to change.

"I hope it's not taken as the official or final word," said Councilwoman Laurie Cole.

Councilwoman Maud Robinson asked two citizens whether their solution was removing the leaf-mulching operation from the site. The citizens replied that it was.

In other business, the Council decided to approve a revised site plan for the construction of a new mailroom facility for Navy Federal Credit Union. Cole and Councilman George Lovelace preferred deferring the motion, while Councilmembers Robinson and Sydney Verinder and Vienna mayor Jane Seeman approved the site plan. Councilmembers Al Boudreau and Edythe Kelleher were absent.

Cole had wanted the plan to better address the regulations under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, while Lovelace disagreed with the Town's Planning Commission on its decision to approve the plan. He had wanted the Planning Commission to press the applicant on a water quality plan, the impervious surface issue, and the measurement of boundaries for the resource protection area (RPA) and the resource management area (RMA).