By the start of the Nov. 7 Town Council meeting, where the awards for the Vienna Halloween Parade were to be presented, the meeting hall was standing room only. Representatives from most of the parade units to be awarded and a couple of entire parade units, filled the seats and lined the walls.
To one side of the hall, Windover Heights resident Matthew Stich, who had appeared at the last Town Council meeting to protest the historic district's zoning ordinance and its application to his property, had again set up a video camera. As at the previous meeting, on the agenda was another appeal filed through Windover Heights resident Michael Covel on a certificate of appropriateness granted by the Windover Heights Board of Review.
When the floor opened for citizen comment, Stich submitted a request that his house be excluded from the historic district.
The presentation of parade awards commenced.
The George Marshall High School marching band took first place for youth bands. The James Madison High School Band was awarded second. The Gainesville District Volunteer Fire Department was awarded first place for adult bands. Merrifield Garden Center took first prize for floats with music, and Flint Hill Elementary took first for floats without music. Brownie Troop 5804 followed Flint Hill in second place. The Best Youth Performers prize went to Cuppett Performing Arts Center and Best Adult Performers went to the Red Hatters of Northern Virginia. The Northern Virginia Corvette Club won for best antique cars award. The prize for Best in Show went to Flint Hill Elementary.
WHEN THE public hearing on the Windover Heights Board of Review decision began, Jason Child was called upon to speak. The certificate of appropriateness in question had been granted to Child and his wife, approving their replacement of a chain link fence around their property with a wooden one.
Child confirmed the replacement of the fence had been thoroughly discussed at a meeting of the Board of Review with reference to the criteria laid out by the zoning ordinance, and Greg Hembree, the town's director of planning and zoning, concurred.
"I thought we were done. But I'm back," said Child with some irritation.
When Covel took the floor, he confronted the council with questions which he frequently repeated. However, he received little response, since the questions did not appear to apply directly to the fence in question, but rather to the basis for the zoning ordinance.
"Mrs. Cole, you brought up the idea of natural wood," he began, addressing Councilmember Laurie Cole. "As you're sitting up here tonight — all seven of you — how do you determine whether or not natural wood is more appropriate versus painted green or painted red? How do you determine one is better than the other, one is more appropriate, one is more historic? How is that determined?"
The questioning continued in this manner until Mayor Jane Seeman said the council was not answering questions that did not pertain to the Childs' fence.
"I've said that that's not germane to the discussion of the appeal. We are discussing the appropriateness of this fence," Seeman said in response to Covel's question of whether or not the Childs' house is on a historic register.
He got little further.
"I'd like to note that there's been no presentation made by anyone here tonight objecting to the specifics of the Windover Heights Board of Review awarding a certificate of appropriateness to the fence at issue," said Councilmember Laurie Cole before motioning that the Board of Review's decision be upheld. The motion passed unanimously.
Councilmember Sydney Verinder later asked if a fee is assessed for appealing a decision by the Windover Heights Board of Review. It was confirmed that there is not.
THE COUNCIL approved plans to change property on Church Street. Robert Williams, who owns the building at 101 Church St. N.W., intends to have the building torn down and replaced with retail space designed by local architect Paul Layer.
Layer made an extensive presentation of the proposed site plan, replete with illustrations, material samples and a model. Occupants of several neighboring properties voiced concerns, particularly about parking, but all concluded that they had confidence in Williams and his team.
"I think this is very sympathetic to the intent of the Church Street ordinance, and I'm very, very happy to see it," said Councilmember Maud Robinson, of the plan. "And I also wish there were more people like Mr. Williams, who's been a longtime member of the professional community of Vienna but reaches out to the neighbors. This has made this a very nice process."
Among other measures discussed, the council also approved the purchase of Microsoft Exchange, a mail exchange server, by the Police Department, as well as a power backup system for police computer servers. The system can send and receive e-mails automatically and would allow officers to send and receive e-mails from their laptops.
It would also require the Police Department to be removed from the Town's current e-mail providers' network, possibly prompting the rest of the town staff to be incorporated into the new network.