Supervisors Send Corridor to Planning

Supervisors Send Corridor to Planning

Board wants alternatives that won't affect neighborhoods.

The Board of Supervisors altered course Tuesday night and voted to resuscitate the proposal to build a Western Transportation Corridor.

After much debate among themselves and listening to public arguments, the board first tabled the proposal to add the corridor to Loudoun's Comprehensive Plan. The mid-afternoon vote Tuesday meant an entirely new public hearing process would be necessary if the supervisors decided to revisit the proposal again. Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) told her colleagues that there was no rush to judgment regarding the roadway, because they did not need to vote on a proffered easement along the corridor's route until November 2005. That's when the right of way expires.

The board supported Waters' motion to table the proposal so county officials could conduct a policy analysis of the corridor and explore alternatives. The motion carried 6-3, with Supervisors Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling), Mick Staton (R-Sugarland) and Stephen Snow (R-Dulles) opposed.

VICE CHAIRMAN Bruce Tulloch asked for the board to reconsider the vote about two hours later. He recommended sending the proposal back to the Planning Commission to review a number of issues generated by the board and to re-certify it within 90 days. That would not require another public hearing process. The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Tulloch said he would like the Planning Commission to modify the corridor proposal so that support would be contingent upon additional studies, environmental analyses and impact-mitigation to protect Brambleton, The Lakes at Red Rock, River Creek, Potomac Station, Red Cedar and any other existing communities.

"I believe when you give up a transportation corridor in the fastest growing county in the nation, you are making a mistake," he said. But he would not support a corridor that would destroy homes in existing communities.

WATERS SAID she would like the Planning Commission to propose alternatives that would not dissect those neighborhoods.

Mick Staton (R-Sugarland) agreed. "Nobody wants to see hundreds of homes destroyed or ripped out."

However, he supports studying the possibility of building the thoroughfare. "I'll be the first person to abandon this corridor if it is determined this is not the best place to build this road," he said.

Sally Kurtz supported conducting a study. To include the corridor in the Comprehensive Plan now would "mean that Loudoun County supports Washington D.C.'s outer beltway, slicing the heart of our county," she said.