There’s a new member on the Vienna Town Council, but this one didn’t have to be elected. Instead, Emil Attanasi was appointed to fill new Mayor Laurie DiRocco’s unexpired term on the Council.
However, he’s no newcomer to the town or its workings. In fact, he served 27 years on the Vienna Planning Commission, from 1983 to July 2010. He was both its chairman and vice chairman and also served as the Town Council’s representative on the Hunter Mill District Land-Use Task Force.
DiRocco was sworn in April 8 to fulfill the remainder of the late Mayor M. Jane Seeman’s term, after Seeman died on Feb. 23. DiRocco later ran unopposed for mayor and was elected on May 6; her two-year term of office begins July 1.
Meanwhile, the Council vacancy needed to be filled. So at the last Town Council meeting, Monday, May 19, Councilwoman Laurie Cole nominated Attanasi for the seat and her motion passed unanimously. Afterward, DiRocco said, “I’m very excited to have him on board.”
He was sworn in the next day, May 20, and will serve on the Council until June 30, 2015 – when DiRocco’s former Council term expires. A 40-year Vienna resident, since 1974, Attanasi is also an economist with the federal government.
PLEASED, AS WELL, with his appointment is Town Planning and Zoning Director Greg Hembree. Said Hembree: “Emil’s institutional memory, after serving 27 years on the Planning Commission, will be a real asset to the Council.”
In other business, the Town Council awarded a $70,000 contract to Urban Ltd. to redesign the Village Green Shopping Center storm-drainage system. “The public storm-sewer design is causing a problem there,” explained Public Works Director Dennis Johnson. “It’s inadequate to handle the water flow.”
The Council also set June 2 for a public hearing on the granting of a conservation and parking easement with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to expand the Vienna Train Station parking lot. And not everyone is happy about it.
“It’s adjacent to the W&OD Trail and would help trail users find more parking,” said town attorney Steve Briglia. “If we traded some easements, the Park Authority would benefit and so would the trail users. It would entail moving a garden to an alternative site, possibly to the garden by Vienna Elementary.”
ANNA MARIE MULVIHILL of the Ayr Hill Garden Club also addressed the Council. “We’re very unhappy that the garden would go if you expanded the parking lot,” she said. “It’s a problem for us because it’s a memorial garden for Dorothy McDermott, our political representative in Richmond for many years and a former member of our garden club.”
Furthermore, added Mulvihill, “It’s an extremely popular garden – the children love it. We’re meeting about it with [Vienna Parks and Recreation Director] Cathy Salgado. And we’ve maintained it for free for 10 years, so would you help us? We’d need some equipment to help us move a tree and some bushes if we have to relocate them.”
There was no further discussion of this topic, but DiRocco said Mulvihill could bring up these points again during the June 2 public hearing.
Also at the May 19 meeting, the Town Council approved new provisions to the Town Code, adopting minimum tree-canopy coverage requirements for both single-lot development and redevelopment. It did so in response to residents’ concerns about Vienna’s deteriorating tree canopy.
The new rules mean that individual lots and subdivisions alike must have 20-percent coverage by trees within 20 years. It also requires that trees removed because of redevelopment be replaced by new plantings. The changes took effect last Thursday, May 22.