VIENNA - The Vienna Planning Commission gave approval Thursday for two new building projects - a Steak'n Shake restaurant near Grand Central Mall and a retail center at the site of the former Rally's.
With a seating capacity for 108 people and 52 parking spaces, the Steak'n Shake will be next to Toys "R" Us in front of Grand Central Mall. A representative from Pickering and Associates told the planning commission Thursday that the underground stormwater retention system to be built under the business was in compliance with stormwater requirements.
Construction may begin as soon as September, but could be as late as January.
Craig Richards, Vienna Planning Commission chairman, leads a discussion Thursday about a proposed storage building to be built on 13th Avenue.
Pat Minnite III, with the PM Company, announced the construction of a three-unit retail center at 107 Grand Central Ave., at the site of the former Rally's. The 5,300-square-foot complex will be large enough to accommodate a retail store and two fast food or casual dining businesses, said Minnite.
"If all goes well, construction could begin within four weeks," he said.
While two tenants have shown an interest in occupying the space, Minnite said the leases were not official yet. Tenants could be finalized within the next few weeks, he said.
In other business, Vienna resident Tom Azinger spoke to the planning commission about a storage building he plans to build on his property in the 600 block of 13th Avenue.
Azinger said he was unaware that he needed a survey to begin construction, and told members he was upset at being notified three days before the planning commission meeting that a survey was expected.
"There is no way I can get a survey done in three days," said Azinger. "I've been before this committee several times before and I've always enjoyed working with them, but on this project I feel I was really jerked around."
"I was notified three days before this meeting that I need an additional requirement that is almost impossible to get done in three days," said Azinger, adding that the request was unreasonable.
Craig Richards, planning commission chair, said it was standard procedure that all projects brought before the commission have a survey done.
"Every development we have before us this evening there has been a survey prepared for each one of them," said Richards. "It's been fairly common to have a survey performed so we can see where those improvements sit on the property, so we know it will be within your property, that it won't encroach on rights of way or other existing public easements and utilities. It's done as much to protect the developer as it is to protect the City of Vienna."
Azinger said he was certain his 35-by-80 square-foot building would be at least 50 feet from other houses, and that he has owned the lot since 1984. Richards said the commission would be more inclined to approve the construction if the structure could be drawn to scale on a plat or original survey of the lot.
After a lengthy discussion, the commission approved the new construction, contingent upon several factors the stormwater system must be approved by the city, the property lines and building corners must be marked by a surveyor, and the marked lines must then be approved by the code and zoning departments.
Planning commission member Mike Hayden said surveys were necessary to protect the city from liability issues, especially if the structure will be built against the property line.
"We don't want to stifle anyone from building, but we need to protect the city. We have an obligation to get things done right, and done consistently for everyone," said Hayden.
City Attorney Russell Skogstad said the commission should revisit the rulebook on building construction, and add new rules, if necessary, to make the procedure and checklist more clear.