County supervisors voted unanimously to authorize the use of eminent domain to secure 11 acres needed to build the final segment of Riverside Parkway, between Loudoun County Parkway to Lexington Drive.
The project is meant to provide another east-west option to relieve rush-hour congestion, along with removing another traffic light from Rt. 7, at the intersection of Lexington Drive.
According to a report prepared by the county Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure and the Office of the County Attorney, the project impacts 14 property owners, including residential, commercial, and retail parcels.
Authorizing eminent domain does not automatically begin the process of taking land, but it does give the county power to condemn property if negotiations stall. Of the affected parcels, as of Oct. 11, county staff members reported, they are still negotiating with eight landowners.
“We are not wiping someone’s house out or things like that when this happens,” said County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large). “It’s usually a small sliver or a parcel of land that there’s no house on it at all, for a public good, and I think the public would be surprised how much hand wringing we do over this.”
Plans drawn up by the county show no homes affected by the road, although some lots with homes on them are affected. Most of the affected parcels are on Smith Circle and Lakeview Center Plaza, where the road will be built across undeveloped lots.
The $15.2 million project is awaiting final design approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation. On the other, western end of Riverside Parkway, the county is working on a $3.75 million project to connect the four-lane road to Janelia Farm.