One Loudoun Heads for Work Session

One Loudoun Heads for Work Session

The Board of Supervisors voted to send proposed development One Loudoun to a work session. The decision followed the public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 14, where 17 members of the public spoke on the proposal. Supervisors voted 8-0-1 to send the project to a Dec. 7 work session. Supervisor Bruce E. Tulloch (R-Potomac) was absent for the hearing.

McLean-based Miller and Smith Land Inc. has proposed the rezoning of approximately 358 acres at the southeast corner of Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway. If approved, the proposal would allow for the development of 1,569 homes, including multi-family units, single-family townhouses, single-family homes and affordable dwelling units. The proposal also includes up to 4,439,200 square feet of office, commercial and retail.

SUPERVISOR LORI WATERS (R-Broad Run), who has worked with the applicant on modifying the project, said she had many concerns about the development, including the amount of residential housing proposed, money that is needed for transportation and the amount of office included in each phase of construction. She said she believed the allowed residential units should be capped at 880.

"We need to keep as much of the site as possible as office and employment," she said. "I think this site should be commercially driven, commercially oriented."

Also on Waters' list of concerns was the $11 million appraisal for a capital facility credit for the project's school site and how the proposal designated the required civic space. Waters added that the applicant would still have to pay the money equivalent to the cost of a Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway interchange, regardless of the fact that voters approved a bond referendum earlier this month to fund the project.

"I don't think the applicant can get off the hook by saying the public will pay for that interchange," she said.

For all of her concerns, however, Waters said she was pleased with changes that had already been made to the proposal.

"I appreciate the applicant working for two years with me and the community and Mr. Klancher on the Planning Commission," she said. "I hope [they] will accommodate some of these further modifications."

TONY CALABRESE, a partner with Cooley Godward Kronish who represents the applicant, said that Miller and Smith is willing to work with the Supervisors and the county's staff on their concerns.

"This is a dynamic project for a dynamic and growing portion of the county," he said. "This is the right time and right location for creating [a mixed-use development.]"

Calabrese also told Supervisors that the World Trade Center, which will be part of One Loudoun, will garner international interest. Indeed the president of the World Trade Center in Frankfurt, Germany, traveled from his home in Europe specifically to address the board at Tuesday's hearing.

"We are really in favor of what we see going on here," Cenator Dietmar Goetz said. "This is something we could promote together and help each other with the local companies here."

OF THE 13 speakers who supported the construction of One Loudoun, seven were citizens who said they were looking forward to having a place nearby where they could spend the day shopping, eating and doing things with their families and friends.

"For the tens of thousands of Loudoun County residents, One Loudoun will enrich and engage their lives as a place to live, work, recreate," Ashburn-resident Roberta Milberg said. "We need something better than low-rise condo centers and strip retail misnamed town centers."

Other citizens also said they were tired of having to drive into Tysons Corner or Washington, D.C., for nice restaurants and nighttime entertainment.

"Right now there is a shortage of restaurants, shops and things to do," resident Scott Beisler said."[With One Loudoun] we would be able to spend our money here and keep our money here."

"I love the idea of having a community development that brings back that old main street feel," Kathryn Ciliberti, a Belmont resident, said. "I especially love the idea of having it down the road from where I live."

THREE OF THE people who spoke against the proposal are members of the Piedmont Environmental Council. The fourth opponent was representing the Coalition for Smarter Growth. Each pointed out that the proposal would take away from office and business uses, which the land is already zoned for, and that the additional homes would only add to the county's transportation problems.

"The most likely scenario is we will end up with all of the residential, some of the retail and little or none of the office development that we want," Gem Bingol said.

Supervisor Stephen Snow (R-Dulles), who has often been at odds with members of the Piedmont Environmental Council, took the time to point out the speakers' associations, saying members of the PEC were paid to stop things from happening. Snow also said that by opposing projects such as One Loudoun, the Piedmont Environmental Council was only catering to the wealthy residents of the county, by trying to block lower-paying jobs and lower-income people.

Snow's comment caused Chairman Scott K. York (I-At large) to tell him to stop vilifying members of the PEC.

"This is a public forum," he said. "The PEC is allowed to make comment just as the developer is allowed to make comment. At the end of the day, five votes will carry what five votes will carry."

During the board's Dec. 7 work session, Supervisors will hear a presentation on a retail study conducted for the Route 7 corridor to determine what is still needed for the area.

"That's the best way to address this issue," Waters said. "We are going to see other town center applications for this corridor. That's a lot of retail in this corridor."