Decades after it was first planned, the developers behind Lexington 7, an vacant 62-acre parcel next to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Blue Mont Nursery on Rt. 7, finally has permission to build something.
Meladon Park LLC and Lexington 7 Park Owners Association Inc. faced stiff resistance from Loudoun supervisors and the county planning staff to its plans to build residential units on the property. The property was originally zoned for an office park, but like many developers along Rt. 7, Meladon Park watched the market for office parks shrink and demand move toward mixed-use environments.
“Lexington 7 was originally rezoned in 1986 PD-OP (Planned Development-Office Park),” said Supervisor Suzanne M. Volpe (R-Algonkian). “Needless to say, congratulations on your 30th anniversary. And needless to say, we’re here because not a lick of building’s ever been built on this.”
Supervisors eventually caved to the idea of another mixed-use development on Rt. 7, sacrificing some of their plans for allowing only strictly commercial buildings on the property.
“I’ve had enough conversations about this particular parcel to understand that it’s simply not going to develop into what we want to develop,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles). “At least what’s coming is age-restricted, as well as a pretty good proffer package.”
The developers now have permission to build 113 age-restricted townhouses and a 125-room continuing care facility, a service station, two drive-through restaurants, and other commercial uses within a smaller setback from Rt. 7.
Like at One Loudoun nearby, Lexington 7 plans to build within 200 feet of Rt. 7, rather than the current 300-foot setback. Letourneau said the setback change may indicate a shift toward smaller setbacks all along the highway as the county revises its comprehensive plan.
Plans at Lexington 7 have changed significantly from the first application to build residential, which the previous Board of Supervisors rejected unanimously in 2014.
“I think the applicant learned from that and listened to the concerns from the Board of Supervisors at that time,” Volpe said. “They’ve worked diligently, not only with myself, but hearing concerns of other members on the board.”
On Sept. 22, the board approved Lexington 7’s application 7-1-1, Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) absent. Only Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) voted against the latest application.
“Fundamentally, I think it’s a mistake to convert commercially zoned land to residential,” Umstattd said. “It limits your potential to bring in more businesses and help support the economy through non-homeowner taxes.”