Vienna's Town Council approved all but one of the modifications proposed for the parking requirements in the town's tallest building Tuesday night.
The council’s 4-2 decision not to permit the waiver for the minimum number of parking spaces — Councilmember Edythe Kelleher and Mayor M. Jane Seeman were in favor of granting the waiver — effectively blocks the plan to convert the building into office condominiums.
Hillary Zahm, senior urban planner with Cooley Godward LLP which represents the building's owner, Trimark, requested five waivers of various requirements for White Oak Towers, as town regulations for parking have changed in the 15 years since the building was constructed.
Zahm asked for modifications in the required size of parking spaces, entrances and exits, side yards and the loading space, saying that although the current sizes of these areas are smaller than the standard, they have worked thus far. "This is an existing condition," said Zahm. "It has been like this for many years." The council approved all four of these modifications, and the only opposition was Councilmember Michael Polychrones, in the vote to modify the loading space requirements.
The bigger issue, however, was Zahm’s request to waive the regulations for the total number of parking spaces at White Oak Towers.
"We feel we’ve made a lot of significant changes," said Zahm, saying that Trimark, which owns the building, has resized and added as many parking spaces as possible. Currently, the building has 183 parking spaces, not including 21 that are shared with a neighboring building. For a building of White Oak Towers’ size, however, Town Code requires 226. Councilmembers Laurie Cole, George Lovelace, Sydney Verinder and Maud Robinson all opposed this modification and did not waive the parking space requirement.
Any of the Councilmembers who were on the prevailing side of the vote can move to reconsider the plan. Otherwise Trimark must either find a way of meeting the minimum number of parking spaces or find other avenues to pursue before they could change to condominium ownership.
IN OTHER BUSINESS, the Town Council approved a measure to hire Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects to plan and develop the Town Green Project, for $211,884. The company has worked on the Chincoteague town green as well as Nottoway Park.
"Lardner/Klein by far came ahead of the other two firms (interviewed for the project)," said Cathy Salgado of the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department. "They are meticulous and concise, and I am very comfortable with them."
The project calls for the demolition of the building located at the corner of Maple and Mill streets, next to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Demolition will likely start late next spring.
The building will be replaced by a park-like area. The design for the Town Green Project includes at least one fountain, said Salgado.
Other measures approved by the Town Council:
* Cunningham & Associates, Inc. will replace the playground equipment at Glyndon Park for $36,508.42. The new equipment made of plastic and metal will look similar to the current playground, but there will be more places to climb, and the equipment should last 20-30 years.
* The Vienna Police Department will purchase T-1 service for its computer-aided dispatch from Verizon for $17,000, and was approved to ride a federal government contract to buy wireless airtime from Verizon for $10,000.
* $216,997 will go to relining more than 7,000 feet of sanitary sewer in contract with Am-Liner East.
* Sagres Construction Corporation, the only bidder, gets the $4,471,434 award for general construction services.
* $15,415 will go to Potomac Valley Brick and Supply for repairs on Maple Avenue and Church Street.
* Public Works will purchase traffic signal equipment from Atlantic Technical Sales and J.O. Herbert Company, Inc. for $50,000 and $25,000 respectively. This equipment includes new LED lights, pedestrian buttons and countdown walk signals, and will coordinate traffic in accordance with Clean Air Act standards.
* $76,500 was expended to Lorton Landfill.
* For $68,000, the Town of Vienna will also have an Asphalt Zipper, a new piece of road-repair equipment that will, according to Dennis King, the director of Public Works, save the town an estimated $57,596 next year, and shorten construction projects like road milling and trenching.