More than $1.36 million in state and federal highway funds were turned down this week by the Vienna Town Council, which voted instead to use $274,000 of its own funds to improve tree-lined Park Street. Using the federal and state money for the project would have necessitated widening the street and cutting down the trees.
The vote followed a public hearing Sept. 23 at which the majority of speakers protested widening the street. Widening the 18-foot road to the state's minimum width of 36 feet would have meant loss or damage to about 500 trees, some more than a century old and 40 inches in diameter.
With little discussion Monday, the six council members and Mayor Charles Robinson accepted Town Manager Brackenridge Bentley's proposal to improve drainage along the street, improve the asphalt sidewalk on its west side, complete a new overlay of the street and remove a rise at Tapawingo Road.
The council also agreed to allocate up to $5,000 for a sidewalk on the east side of the street between McHenry Street and Cunningham Park School, mainly for the safety of children who now walk in the street.
The $274,000 figure includes $15.135 for reducing the hill at Tapawingo and $195.843 for three of the worst drainage problems - at Manville Road and Tapawingo and Kingsley streets. Drainage problems are to be corrected in order of necessity.
The council also will ask Bentley to accelerate the project for completion before his target date of fiscal year 1983.
In approving the use of its own funds, the council reversed a decision by a previous council that would have traded the trees for street improvements.
In other action, the council declared a moratorium, effective immediately, on the receipt of transitional zone or transitional parking zone applications. The moritorium will remain in effect for 90 days while the council asks the Vienna Planning Commission to schedule a hearing to consider eliminating the zones, which some council members and citizens say will allow commercial interests to creep into residential areas.
Transitional parking allows parking areas for business reasons on residentially zoned land within 20 feet of commercially zoned property. Councilman Ray E. Hicks described it as "an overlay" onto land zoned for residential use only.
Currently, only three parcels of land are zoned transitional. If the council abolished the zone, it will have to rezone those parcels.