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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
Requester Rights & Town of Vienna Responsibilities
Lynne Coan
Communications and Marketing Manager

Town of Vienna
127 Center Street S
Vienna, VA  22180

Ph: 703-255-6330
Fax: 703-255-5722

The Town of Vienna strives to respond to requests for information in a friendly, timely, and helpful manner – because the Town is committed to transparency in serving its residents. In addition, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guarantees citizens and media representatives access to public records. 

Please note that many frequently requested documents are  available via the Town’s website.

Your FOIA Rights

  • You have the right to request to inspect and/ or receive copies of public records.
  • You have the right to ask that any charges for requested records be estimated in advance.
  • If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court.

Make a FOIA request from the Town of Vienna

The marketing and communications manager is the Town’s designated FOIA coordinator. Requests may be made via U.S. mail, fax, email, in person, or over the phone. 

Your request must be for existing records and documents and you must identify the records that you are seeking with “reasonable specificity.” This does not limit the volume or number of records requested, but rather requires enough specificity so that we can identify and locate records being sought. In addition, the Town is not required to create a record that does not exist.

Response time

The Town is required to respond to FOIA requests within five working days by providing the records requested; withholding records or redacting parts of records due to specific, allowed exemptions; informing you that we cannot find or do not have the records requested; or notifying the requester that an additional seven days is needed to respond and explaining conditions that make the extension necessary. This five-day period does not include weekends and holidays. Day one is considered to be the day after the request is received.


The Town is allowed to charge for actual costs incurred in responding to FOIA requests, which may include copy charges and staff time for collecting and copying records. The Town of Vienna charges 0.75 cents for the first page and 0.10 cents for each additional page. Some documents, such as oversized building plans, may require higher copying costs.

Some records are available electronically and thus do not have an associated copy charge.

You may request a cost estimate in advance. If the Town estimates that the cost will be more than $200, a deposit may be required. If you owe the Town money from a previous FOIA request that is more than 30 days past due, we may require payment of the previous bill before we respond to the new FOIA request.

What is a public record?

A public record is any writing or recording – including paper records, electronic files, audio and video recordings, among other formats – that is prepared, owned, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees, or agents as it transacts public business. All public records are presumed to be open and may be withheld only if a specific, statutory exemption applies.

Common exemptions

The Code of Virginia allows public bodies to withhold certain records from public disclosure. Exemptions may include:

  • personnel records
  • records subject to attorney-client privilege or attorney work product
  • vendor proprietary information
  • records relating to negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded
  • certain taxpayer information such as gross receipts of a specific business used to calculate a business tax

FOIA Advisory Council

The Freedom of Information Advisory Council can answer questions related to FOIA.