A proposal to put two car dealerships in the East Market Street corridor gained steam at the Planning Commission last week.
The plan by Brown’s Car Stores received the unanimous endorsement of the panel last Thursday. The company is seeking approval for both a rezoning and special exception on land north and south of Russell Branch Parkway between the Village at Leesburg and the new Lowe’s home improvement store. The property is zoned I-1 (Industrial).
If approved by the council, the land would be rezoned to B-3 (Business) and special exception approval would allow for the construction of two automobile dealerships that will front on Russell Branch and face each other. Each dealership would be a maximum of 33,502 square feet, and both will contain indoor sales areas, outdoor vehicle display, and service areas.
According to the staff report, the dealership on the north side of Russell Branch Parkway will be located between the Lowe’s site on the east and the Cobb movie theater parking lot to the west, with East Market Street to the north. The dealership on the south side of Russell Branch Parkway would be between the town’s Public Works/Utilities facilities to the west, and open space to the east that is associated with Land Bay C of the Village at Leesburg development, which is made up of two-over-two and townhouse units.
To the south of the site is an extensive floodplain associated with Tuscarora Creek. Within the floodplain area, which is not proposed for development, the applicant wants to build a portion of the Tuscarora Creek pedestrian/bike trail along their property. Access for both of the dealerships will be provided from Russell Branch Parkway with the cul-de-sac for Keystone Drive providing additional access to the southern dealership.
In its recommendation for approval, commissioners encouraged the applicant to work with town staff during site plan review to incorporate more pervious surfaces into the development area.
The application now goes on to the Town Council for final approval, but it won’t be the council’s first glimpse of the proposed project. In June, council members approved a Town Plan amendment on the property to change the land use designation of the property from Regional Office to Community Office/Light Industrial and remove Keystone Drive from the Road Network Policy Map.