“Responsible development” slate wins Vienna Town Council election

Michael Dranove Politics

Incumbent Howard Springsteen, ophthalmologist Nisha Patel, and Steve Potter, founder of Vienna Citizens for Responsible Development, were winners in yesterday’s Vienna Town Council election.  Running a coordinated campaign in favor of “responsible development,” the three winners beat out incumbent Tara Bloch, and challengers Julie Hays and Tim Strike. The results represent a major victory for the vocal critics of the Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zoning guidelines, as two projects approved under the MAC have gone through by a single vote.

Critics of how the Council has handled the MAC have long argued that mixed-use developments will only contribute to the dismal state of traffic along Maple Avenue, and will further strain parking options in the area while doing nothing to increase local bike and walkability.  However, proponents of mixed-use development point out that housing prices are becoming increasingly out of reach for many workers, including those working for the Town. The only candidate on the ticket yesterday standing by the recently approved MAC projects was Tara Bloch, who finished 5th.  At a candidate forum in April, Bloch defended the approved projects, arguing they were necessary to keep housing prices reasonable and within reach for government workers.  “Ideally, those who work and serve in the Town, can live in the Town.”

The incoming candidates have noted that juggling these issues will require a “nuanced” approach. The first meeting of the new Town Council is May 20th, 8pm, at Town Hall

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