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FairfaxWinter weather leads to postponement of Vienna land-use hearing

Winter weather leads to postponement of Vienna land-use hearing

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A major storm dropped between a half a foot and a foot of snow on Northern Virginia Jan. 3, forcing the Vienna Town Council to cancel its meeting that evening and postpone a much-anticipated land-use public hearing until a future date.

What began as a delayed start of operations Jan. 3 quickly morphed into a closure of town offices as snow fell heavily all morning long. Facing that logistical challenge, Vienna officials decided to cancel the Council meeting for the safety of town staff and local residents, said town spokesman Karen Thayer.

Officials also wanted to ensure residents would have ample opportunity to attend a public hearing on proposed zoning-ordinance text changes pertaining to lot coverage and front-yard porch projections.

“The Council wanted residents to feel heard,” Thayer said.


People on both sides of the issue made their views known at recent Vienna Planning Commission meetings.

Some town residents viewed the current Vienna code, which last was modified substantially in 1956, as too restrictive and said allowing somewhat higher lot coverage would let them make better use of their properties.

Opponents said the current rules had helped the town keep its small-town feel for decades and they worried loosened restrictions would be exploited by developers.

The canceled Council meeting means Vienna news aficionados also will need to wait until a future date to learn whether a house at 131 Courthouse Road, S.W., will be named to the Vienna Historic Property Register; if the town will schedule a public hearing on possibly renaming Wade Hampton Drive S.W., which for about six decades has been named after a Confederate general; and whether the Council will approve a new schedule of planning-and-zoning fees.

Other items that will need to be taken up at another time include a proposed $12,000 increase for the Bowman House roof-replacement project; the possible spending of $31,271 more for observation-and-testing services at the Vienna Police Headquarters construction project; and the potential approval of $663,000 to finance the town’s share of design work for the redevelopment of Patrick Henry Library and building of a municipal parking garage there.

In addition to the Council meeting, the town canceled all classes and programs at the Vienna Community Center and its Club Phoenix teen center. Vienna officials also put off scheduled trash pickup Jan. 3 to the following day.

Town Hall was scheduled to reopen Jan. 4 at 10 a.m. While officials canceled classes at the community center and Bowman House for that morning, they expected to start providing those offerings again that afternoon, Thayer said.

Winter weather, even of the extreme variety, has not always forced the town to cancel Council meetings. Proceedings went along as scheduled after a snowstorm dropped about 2 feet of snow in early 1996. Your correspondent, who then lived about two blocks from Town Hall, glided over to the building on cross-country skis.

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