File #: 23-3929    Version: 1 Name:
Type: Action Item Status: Passed
File created: 8/10/2023 In control: Town Council Meeting
On agenda: 8/28/2023 Final action: 8/28/2023
Title: Code Create Vienna - Direction to Staff on Draft Chapter 18 Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance
Attachments: 1. 01 - DRAFT Chapter 18 Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance - 06.01.23, 2. 02 - Existing and Proposed Draft Zoning Maps - 11x17 - 06.06.23, 3. 03 - Oral Comments Received, 4. 04 - Written Comments Received, 5. 05 - Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Draft Chapter 18, organized by topic, 6. 06 - Options Memo from Testimony for 8-28-23 TC Code Create, 7. 07 - Technical Review Comments by ZoneCo, 8. 08 - PC Recommendation to Town Council - 08.23.23 - Final



Code Create Vienna - Direction to Staff on Draft Chapter 18 Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance




Since Code Create was initiated as a project on July 6, 2020, the Town Council has met more than 30 times, either in a regular meeting or conference session, to discuss concepts, drafts, the process and to hear from the public. The Planning Commission has also met many times for the same purposes. In addition, there has been a very active community engagement component to Code Create, from the very beginning up to ensuring that the public was knowledgeable about the opportunities to give input on the draft document.


On June 12, 2023, the Town Council voted to release the draft for public comment, refer the draft to the Planning Commission for its comments, and set the dates for the public hearing. On July 10 and 12, 2023, the Town Council held a joint public hearing with the Planning Commission on the draft Chapter 18 - Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance (Attachment 1) and the associated proposed updated Zoning Map (Attachment 2).




The purpose the both the Aug. 28 and Sept. 11 agenda items is for the Town Council to provide direction to staff on any changes it would like made to the Draft Chapter 18 - Zoning and Subdivision.  If the Town Council can provide all direction by the end of the Sept. 11 meeting, staff can return on Oct. 2 with an updated draft for the Town Council to review and then, potentially, direct the Clerk to advertise a notice of intent to adopt.  This schedule will allow the Town Council to achieve its stated goal of adopting the updated Chapter 18 at its Oct. 23 meeting.


Public Input

The public had opportunities to provide input both in person, at the July 10 and July 12 public hearings, and in writing, from the date of the document’s release on June 12, 2023, until the close of the public record on July 26, 2023 (a total of 44 days).


During this public comment period, the Town Council and Planning Commission received a total of 14 in-person oral comments (the transcription of the testimony is Attachment 3) and 135 written submissions (Attachment 4).  To assist in the Council’s and Commission’s review of the testimony, staff has provided a document (Attachment 5) that reduces the almost-700 pages of total submissions (oral transcription and written) to a 21-page document that provides the actions that the commenters recommend be taken, grouped by topic area.


Staff has also undertaken to produce a document (Attachment 6) that provides some context related to testimony submissions and options for the Town Council’s consideration.  For each option, staff has provided an assessment of whether an additional public hearing would be needed to adopt such a change.  If the Town Council decides that it does not wish to hold an additional public hearing before adoption, items that the Council may wish to adopt but would require a public hearing can be tracked by staff for action during a future code update.


Attachment 6 does not address all comments and recommendations, and by no means does staff intend to imply that this document covers all the possible choices for the Town Council.  Furthermore, staff acknowledges that the document may leave out certain components of testimony on which the Town Council may wish to focus.  As such, neither Attachment 5 nor Attachment 6 replaces reading the testimony as submitted.  These documents are meant to facilitate Council decision-making, should the Council find them useful.


ZoneCo and Planning Commission Review and Comments

After having received input from individual Councilmembers and the Town Manager, staff requested that ZoneCo, the consultant hired to assist the town in the Code Create process, conduct a technical review of the draft document.  The results are attached (Attachment 7).  Staff has briefly reviewed this input but has not had an opportunity to develop comments on that input.  Staff intends to do so in time for the Sept. 11 Town Council meeting.  Town Council could, therefore, choose to defer its consideration of those comments until the Sept. 11 meeting.


State law requires that the Planning Commission be afforded the opportunity to review and provide comments on any proposed change to zoning.  Since the release of the draft on June 12, 2023, the Planning Commission has held work sessions on multiple occasions to develop its recommendations.  As of this writing, the Commission intends to complete and approve its recommendations at its first meeting after the summer break, on Wednesday, Aug. 23.  Once the recommendations are approved and the letter is completed, the Planning Commission Chair and staff will forward it to the Town Council as a supplement to the already-released Town Council packet for the Aug. 28 meeting.  It will also be attached to the online agenda packet so that the public may view it.



The public hearing was a key step in Vienna’s multi-year process to update the Town’s codes and regulations with respect to subdivision and zoning, which are currently in Chapters 17 and 18 of the code, respectively.  To assist in this process, the Town retained a consultant team led by ZoneCo (formerly Calfee Zoning).  ZoneCo assisted greatly in the early phases of the project and produced first drafts of all the Articles. Since that time, staff has taken the lead in producing updates, based on input from the Town Council, Planning Commission, other boards and commissions, Vienna residents, business representatives and other community members.  However, ZoneCo has provided technical support in specific areas later in the process and, most recently, conducted a review of the entire document, by a ZoneCo employee who had not previously been involved in the project.


The project goal is to produce a set of updated and modern zoning regulations organized in a manner that is easy to use and to administer, and that is calibrated to the community’s desired development patterns and character.  If adopted, this ordinance will replace Chapters 17 and 18 of the existing Town Code, and replace with them with a new Chapter 18, which will incorporate the content, as amended, from the previous Chapters 17 and 18.


The Town's last comprehensive update to the zoning code occurred more than 50 years ago, in 1969, though a significant portion of the regulations date back to the 1956 zoning ordinance.


Staff from the Department of Planning and Zoning is managing this project, under the leadership of the Town Council and the Planning Commission and with strong input from and collaboration with community members and other Town staff.  The Town Council has communicated its goal of completing this update project during calendar year 2023, with the more specific goal of adoption by the end of Oct. 2023.


More information on this process can be found at




Attachment 1: Draft of Chapter 18 - Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance.


Attachment 2:  Draft updated Zoning Map, which shows the locations of the proposed new districts and zones and the existing zoning map for reference.


Attachment 3: Public Testimony - Oral Comments Received


Attachment 4: Public Testimony - Written Comments Received


Attachment 5: Staff Summary of Public Testimony recommendations, organized by topic


Attachment 6: Options Memo from Testimony


Attachment 7: Technical Review of draft Chapter 18 and current code by ZoneCo


Attachment 8: Planning Commission Recommendation on draft Chapter 18



Departmental Recommendation:  Staff recommends that the Town Council review the testimony received and provide direction to staff on any changes the Council wishes to make to the draft code.


Town Attorney Recommendation:  The Town has conducted community outreach, retained a zoning code update consultant, and conducted public hearings at the Planning Commission Level and Town Council level to receive public input.  The Town Council, after consideration of the recommendations of the Planning Commission, may adopt the provisions of CodeCreate advertised.  Some modifications as suggested in the Public Hearings are permitted; however, some substantive modifications would require referral to the Planning Commission, additional public hearings and consideration by the Town Council as required by Virginia Code Section 15.2-2204.  Planning and Zoning has submitted a Memo, attached to this Agenda Item as #6, that reviews the public hearing comments and suggested CodeCreate amendments submitted by members of the public.  Public Hearing suggested edits are categorized and noted where a referral to the Planning Commission and further public hearings would be required.


Town Manager's Recommendation:  I recommend the Town Council provide the Planning and Zoning Department Staff with clear direction on changes to be made to the draft Chapter 18 - Zoning and Subdivision, as presented.




Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the Town Council provide clear direction on changes to be made to the draft Chapter 18 - Zoning and Subdivision. When there is any doubt about the direction on a particular item, staff recommends that the Town Council conduct a vote on that item.


"I move to direct staff to …"




Other action deemed necessary by Council.