Town of Vienna staff is ready to move ahead with a consultant to study four different approaches to Maple Avenue, but the Town Council wants to meet them first. "I would like to sit down and talk to them about this," said Mayor Jane Seeman during the council's Feb. 27 meeting.
The town's Maple Avenue Vision committee studied what to do with Maple Avenue as development pressures continue in the town, and last year came back with a recommendation to develop a form-based zoning code.
Under traditional, or Euclidean zoning, localities define what sorts of uses can go on a piece of land (residential, commercial, industrial and how dense those uses can be. They do not consider the style of the building.
A form-based code instead dictates what a building on a piece of land should look like but does not offer specifics about what will go in it. Some codes would restrict some uses (a rendering plant would be unlikely) but generally, the real estate market dictates what sorts of tenants go into a particular building.
Some members of the council have been hesitant to accept a form-based code, noting that in order for it to be viable, the town would likely have to allow additional density or height. Others have said that such a code is the best way to ensure that Vienna maintains its character as it is beset by high-density areas like Tysons Corner and MetroWest.
The Town Council decided to explore the various options and is considering offering a contract to develop some scenarios. The town staff was ready to offer the job to Duncan Associates of Austin, Texas for $10,000. In exchange, the company would analyze different possibilities — the current zoning code, a form-based code and two other sorts of more traditional zoning, which the town does not currently have.
The council deferred its decision on whether or not to retain Duncan's services, pending discussing the issues with company representatives during a work session.
The council also opted to weigh in on a topic that is a bit outside the town's borders. The council voted in favor of supporting a resolution made by the Town of Leesburg about the Dulles Greenway. The company which owns the Greenway is planning to remove its frequent driver discounts, and Leesburg is opposed to that policy change. Although the Greenway, which runs from the end of the Dulles Toll Road to the Town of Leesburg, is not near the town, Councilmember Laurie Cole noted that the impacts will still be felt in the town. Drivers who do not use the toll road to get to Tysons Corner will often use a series of town roads, like Lawyers Road and Maple Avenue, increasing local traffic. "I think this does, in fact, affect us," Cole said. "Once you don't use the Greenway, you're not going to hop back on the toll road."
Councilmember Edythe Kelleher agreed, noting that other states give discounts to drivers who use electronic toll payments, like EZ Pass, and said that Virginia should also encourage that.
The council also approved an ordinance which would allow for the sale of $8 million in bonds. The actual sale will amount to about $4.9 million, with the balance remaining available. Bond funds will be used to fund such projects as the Town Green, various sidewalk and parks projects and renovations to town water tanks.
The Town Council approved the following resolutions unanimously:
* Awarding a contract to Tysons Service Corporation for the demolition of the Wright Building (old location of White Swan Bridal) and preliminary grading for the Town Green for $94,602.
* Accepting a number of new properties and their associated public improvements into the town's maintenance system.
* Spending $646,752.38 to rebuild Casmar and Fardale streets, S.E.
* Approval of the official town map.