The Loudoun Planning Commission is considering an application to build a 3,706-home mixed-use development at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and the Dulles Greenway.
Silver District West would bring 3,325 multifamily units and 381 townhomes to the area between Loudoun’s two future Metro stops. It is also proposed to bring 630,000 square feet of office space; 240,000 square feet of commercial and retail space; 56 acres of parks, fields, and open space; and a nine-acre site for an elementary school.
It is also ahead of the county’s own planning. County planning staff have noted it is consistent with the county’s plans for future growth around the Metro, which are still under development. But it does not match the current planning for that area, which county leaders have acknowledged is out of date.
The idea of that many more homes has also already generated intense scrutiny from the Ashburn community, including several speakers at a public hearing and more than 160 comments to the county’s online land application portal.
“I oppose the rezoning for traffic purposes in that [area]—single family homes might be OK, but the roads cannot support more high density house[s]. I do not know that the roads can support business traffic either, but at least there might be some convenient shopping,” wrote Ashburn resident Beth Bernat.
“I personally feel the whole idea of rezoning is absurd,” wrote Suresh Kumar Reddy Chadive, who also lives in the area. “We need the area around the metro to be lively with more recreation centers and easy access to day to day needs. We are already over crowded with so many residential homes.”
Cooley LLP attorney Colleen Gillis, representing the developer, pointed out that the county will soon have to start paying back the massive federal transportation loan the county took out to build Metro, and argued projects like Silver District West, started now, can help defray that cost with proffer agreements. She said the project is of “imminent importance, not only to the application, but to the county and to those taxpayers not living anywhere near the Metro.”
Planning commissioners expressed concern about the impact of the development on the school system. According to the county, under its current modeling, Silver District West is expected to bring 1,443 more students, and surrounding schools are already above building capacity.
School system staff members have also told county planners they can’t verify the proposed elementary school site on the property is usable until they have finished devising their standards for urban school design, an ongoing process.
The Planning Commission forwarded the application to a future work session for more deliberation.