Tonight’s Vienna Town Council meeting could put an end to months of debate over plans to rezone 380 Maple Avenue for mixed-use development.
Last fall, developers submitted a proposal to tear down the office building currently occupying 380 Maple in order to build a mixed-use development consisting of 39 condos, 7500 square feet of retail, and 125 parking spaces. Since then, Town Council meetings discussing the proposal have been packed by local residents mainly expressing opposition to the plans.
On May 13th, the most recent meeting addressing the issue, a long list of speakers stepped forward to express their sometimes forceful concern over the building’s height, density, and proportion of building to green space. The developers, which include former Town Council candidate and founder of JDA Custom Homes Dennis Rice, are, needless to say, frustrated. “This building has decreased in size tremendously from the beginning…every move that we’ve made they’ve come back and said, ‘well, that’s not really relevant,’” Rice said of his opponents.
At the May 13th meeting, the Town Council suggested that opponents get together with Mr. Rice for mediation sessions led by a 3rd party. According to councilmember Howard Springsteen, these sessions have been ongoing, though tonight’s meeting will no doubt be a true test of their efficacy.
A certain sense of urgency may be at play here. Two new councilmembers, both of whom have expressed concerns over the development, will be sworn in on July 1st. If a decision cannot be reached tonight, this project could face terminal delays.
Vienna Town Council Meeting, June 17th, 8pm, Vienna Town Hall, 127 Center Street.