Loudoun Formalizes Rules on Last-Minute Developer Negotiations

Putting ink to one of County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall’s policy priorities from December, the county staff has implemented new procedures to curb last-minute negotiations over development projects.

County staff members will now recommend supervisors delay action on land use applications that change after board agenda packets go out. Supervisors have often received last-minute revisions to applications and proffers as late as the night of the board meeting where they are scheduled to vote on that application.

In discussing the policy during Thursday night’s board meeting, Randall said it would give the county staff and supervisors enough time to review applications, and make sure the public has an opportunity to review what the board is seeing.

“Our constituents and citizens aren’t seeing ahead of time exactly what we’re going to vote on,” agreed board Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn). “Our packets are put out several days before the meetings. They see what we receive then, but what they don’t see is all these supplements.”

[Read and download Board of Supervisors and board committee meeting materials here.]

Supervisor Suzanne M. Volpe (R-Algonkian), who chairs the board’s Transportation/Land Use Committee, asked that the staff distribute the new process to the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association and NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, so developers would be aware of the new requirements as soon as possible.

“On the other side of this, I would hope that those of us on the Board of Supervisors also would try and limit any kind of last minute things,” Volpe said.

Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said the adjustments would have to come from developers and land use attorneys, and that “there’s nothing like a deadline at a board meeting to get changes to an application, and to get warring parties to the table when there’s disagreement.”

“Quite frankly, I think we saw a little bit of that today with one of these applications that was just deferred, because there were issues with it that were just not being worked early enough,” Letourneau said. “So now we’re not going to bring last minute changes to the board on the day of the meeting.”

Letourneau did not mention a specific application, but a large and complicated application by One Loudoun, originally scheduled for a vote Thursday, was deferred to a future board meeting. Some supervisors have voiced skepticism both about the number of changes in the application and the number of additional housing units it would authorize.

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

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