The future of the Route 50/Arcola Comprehensive Plan amendment is once again on hold. The Board of Supervisors voted to table the amendment following concerns over the residential build-out analysis presented by staff members.
After holding three work sessions on the amendment, the board was scheduled to vote on the proposal at its Oct. 3 business meeting.
If approved, the amendment would rezone the Route 50/Arcola corridor, an area often referred to as "the gateway to Loudoun." It would allow for additional residential, business and retail development.
The amount of residential development that would be allowed within a close proximity to Dulles Airport has been an ongoing concern of people opposed to the proposal.
In May, those concerns caused the Planning Commission to alter the plan originally proposed by the Route 50 task force, a group of landowners, developers and residents created at the request of the board. The commission removed a mixed-use development, which would be located off of Route 50, just west of Dulles Airport.
TUESDAY, CONCERNS were raised over the ability for landowners with acreage within the Dulles Airport noise contours to transfer their allowed residential density to acreage they owned outside of the restricted area. During the board's work sessions, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said they would discourage any residential development inside the contours.
Supervisor Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) said he was concerned that the density transfer would allow landowners to development residential units at higher densities than allowed under the proposal.
The board is proposing business community land use around Dulles Airport, which allows for 25 percent of land to be residential development.
Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) proposed amending the residential density transfer language to cap the allowed density at 16 units per acre outside the high noise areas. Problems arose when staff could not give a definitive number of residential units that would be allowed under the amended proposal. Supervisors expressed anger that staff members could not settle on a solid number and said they doubted the information they were being given.
"The numbers continue to change," Supervisor Jim Clem (R-Leesburg) said. "I am to the point where I want some answers. I have had enough."
"I have no confidence from one scenario to the other that I am hearing an apples-to-apples comparison," Board Chairman Scott K. York (I-At large) said. "I hear one staff member telling me they calculated [the build out] with the potential within the noise contours and I am hearing another tell me that is not true."
Following a motion by Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) the board voted to table the decision until the Oct. 17 business meeting, directing staff to continue working on the true build-out analysis. Supervisors must take action on the Comprehensive Plan amendment by Nov. 26.
SUPERVISORS VOTED to alter the scheduled public hearing for the Upper Broad Run/Upper Foley Transition Policy Area Comprehensive Plan amendment, adding a second section of the hearing Saturday, Oct. 14, at 9 a.m. The first section of the hearing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10, during the board's regularly scheduled monthly public hearing.
The decision came after Burton proposed holding two special public hearings to give citizens the opportunity to address the board. Burton proposed the agenda item after receiving phone calls and e-mails from concerned citizens.
"We have held special public hearings in the past for very controversial subjects," he said. "This is a very controversial one and very emotional."
Some supervisors expressed concern over delaying the public hearing any further. The Transition Policy Area Comprehensive Plan amendment was sent back to the Planning Commission at the end of July for recertification. The commission sent the proposal back to the board with a recommendation of approval following an Aug. 28 public hearing.
Supervisor Bruce E. Tulloch (R-Potomac) offered the substitute motion to leave the amendment on the Oct. 10 agenda and add the Saturday public hearing.
SUPERVISORS BURTON and Sally Kurtz (D-Catoctin) voted against the Tulloch's motion because they believed more time should be given to the public process.
"Here we are, we can't seem to delay one [little] public hearing," Kurtz said. "To me it matters more that this board create a climate that encourages citizens to participate."
York abstained from the vote, but stated that he would have supported the motion to hold two special hearings.
"We should have held this [hearing] closer to the Route 50 corridor in a high-school auditorium so everyone who wanted to hear the issue could be in the room to hear what was going on," he said.
York also said he opposed the part of Burton's proposal that requested speakers identify their affiliation, specifically anyone associated with the development community.
"As long as the person is a tax paying member of this community, lives in this community, works in this community, they are a part of this," he said. "I personally feel it is rude to ask people to come up here and to state pointedly who they belong to, who they represent."
The board also supported a motion that requires each speaker to sign up for themselves and would not allow a single person to sign up several different speaker. Each speaker will also be required to speak for themselves.