With very little fanfare, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve One Loudoun, a mixed-use development in Ashburn. The board voted 7-2 for approval with Supervisor Bruce E. Tulloch (R-Potomac) and Chairman Scott K. York (I-At large) voting against the proposal.
One Loudoun is a 358-acre development located at the southeast corner of Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway. The development will include the construction of up to 1,040 residential units, including single-family homes, townhouses and multifamily units. Eighty-three of the allowed units will be developed as affordable dwelling homes and 14 will be workforce housing units. The proposal also includes up to 4,439,200 square feet of office, commercial and retail. The development will also include a church site, more allotted civic space and a central, open-air amphitheater and stage, which would be open to the public.
"I believe they will be providing a significant benefit to the residents that live in Loudoun and the Broad Run district," Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) said. "It is a complete package."
THE APPROVED application is far different from the proposal that was brought to the county by Miller and Smith Land Inc. almost two years ago. Originally, the development called for more than 2,000 residential units, a number that has continued to drop over the past year. The applicant had originally planned to construct the interchange at Loudoun County Parkway and Route 7, a project that was approved by residents on the Nov. 7 bond referendum. Now, Miller and Smith have agreed to fund and construct the interchange at Ashburn Village Boulevard and Route 7, just west of the development's site. The interchange will cost approximately $20.24 million for design and construction.
"When this project first was proposed a number of years ago, my first reaction was not a very favorable one," Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) said. "What we are proposing now is a mixed-use facility with office retail and housing so people can live and work and play in close proximity."
TO ANSWER concerns about the way the development is constructed, the applicant agreed to phase the residential development with the office and retail development. The first phase of One Loudoun will be constructed with at least one million square feet of nonresidential development and a maximum of 450 residential units. In addition, at least 100,000 square feet of the nonresidential space must be released before one of the residential units can be inhabited.
During the second phase, One Loudoun will see at least 2,150,000 square feet of nonresidential development under way and no more than 900 total residential units constructed.
"This applicant has stepped forward with [the phasing,]" Waters said. "This way we will see the residential, office and retail all track together."
IN ADDITION TO the new interchange, the applicant has added to the transportation contributions it will make to the county. Miller and Smith has agreed to make Russell Branch Parkway a four-lane divided road and constructing a two-lane section of Marblehead Drive through its development site. One Loudoun will also include several new traffic signals, a $75,000 contribution for future signals and provisions for bus service and shelters.
"The interchange will bring tremendous improvement to the traffic flow at an intersection that handles tens of thousands of cars each day," Waters said..
The development will also include a 20-acre school site, which would provide perhaps the final elementary school site needed in the area.
"This is extremely important to us as Farmwell Station and Eagle Ridge middle schools now can have some reasonable assurance that [the new school] will keep the movement of children to the lowest level possible," Supervisor Stephen Snow (R-Dulles) said.
SUPERVISORS WHO supported the application said they were swayed by the number of changes the applicant had made in answer to their concerns about the proposal, as well as issues raised by members of the community and other businesses. One of the largest concerns raised was over the competition One Loudoun would bring to the Dulles Town Center.
"These objections instead of being ignored have been addressed in this application," Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) said. "I appreciate the applicant's flexibility on that issue."
Supervisor Sally Kurtz (D-Catoctin) said she supported One Loudoun mostly because of the transportation proffers that had been put forth and the applicant's willingness to do what was necessary to meet the need of the county.
Supervisor Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge) pointed out that approval of One Loudoun did not violate the resolution the board passed Jan. 3 to defer decisions on residential developments for a period of 12 months.
"This application has been in the process for much longer than 12 months," he said. "The 12 months was actually up last spring."
CONCERNS OVER the 702,000 square feet of retail that would be allowed in One Loudoun caused Tulloch and York to oppose the application.
Tulloch said, while he was happy with the residential component and the transportation proffers, he could not support creating what he called another regional mall so close to the Dulles Town Center.
"I think some members of the board didn't do their homework when it came to the retail proponent of this application," he said. "Right now with this you are going to approve 80 square feet [of retail] per resident. I really don't appreciate where this applicant has taken this application."
York said he could not support the amount of retail or the idea that almost 50,000 square feet of retail could be constructed without a special exception.
"We are already maxed out in both, on-the-ground retail and planned-retail uses," he said. "This is much more than the average square feet per person."