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Jan 30

Why does the Town of Vienna need a Maple Avenue Vision?

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM by Kirstyn Barr

I have heard residents say, “I like the Town just the way it is. I don’t want it to change.” The reality is our Town will continue to grow and change, whether we create a Maple Avenue Vision or not. Everything from traffic to the restaurants and businesses we attract, to the look of the Town will be affected by the development (or lack of development) that occurs. The question becomes does the Town want to proactively effect the change and have the change happen in a way that is conducive to Vienna’s small-town-feel. A Maple Avenue Vision would establish what future redevelopment could look like along this main corridor in the coming years. The Town did something similar with Church Street a number of years ago. It would include such items as architectural features, community gathering spaces, streetscape, historical features, environmental considerations, code changes and transportation options.

Here are some reasons why the Town needs a Maple Avenue Vision. First, Tysons Corner, which is situated directly next to the Town, is being redeveloped into a large urban center over the next twenty years. There will be many developers considering projects in the area. Since most residents do not want to redevelop like Tysons Corner, it would be good to have a Maple Avenue Vision in place so developers are clear about the Town’s plans for our commercial area. Second, much of the Town Building Code is over thirty years old and needs to be re-examined and updated. Third, some buildings along Maple Avenue are ready for redevelopment but property owners are unsure how to proceed. A Maple Avenue Vision would be an incentive for owners to redevelop older properties. Fourth, a Maple Avenue Vision would allow for an expansion of our commercial businesses. This brings in tax revenue from sources other than residential real estate taxes. Fifth, Vienna is a unique destination in a large and roughly homogeneous County. We would like to maintain our uniqueness and small-town-feel, but keep Vienna vibrant with modern restaurants, shops and facilities, as well as thriving businesses. A Maple Avenue Vision allows us this opportunity.

The Town is in the process of hiring a consultant to utilize the many years of studies and materials the Town has developed on a potential Maple Avenue Vision, as well as current ideas, to formulate a vision and plan. The vision will be presented to the Town’s Boards and Commissions, and there will be public hearings on the proposal. Look for updates and information about the Maple Avenue Vision on the Town’s website in the coming weeks. If you have questions about Maple Avenue Vision, please contact the Town’s Planning and Zoning Department at Town Hall. I am proposing that 2012 be the year of the Maple Avenue Vision!

Laurie DiRocco
Vienna Town Councilmember