The Leesburg Town Council last night agreed to take more time before voting on what some regard as major changes to the downtown area’s landscape.
The current six-member council unanimously voted to move discussion of three applications to expand the Loudoun County Courthouse in downtown Leesburg to a Feb. 22 work session.
Before the council are three separate, yet related, land development applications for the courthouse expansion. The first, a Town Plan amendment, would change the land use designation of the 9.9-acre area including the Pennington parking lot, off North and Church streets, from Low-Density Residential to Downtown. The two other applications include a concept plan and proffer amendment to increase the square footage of the proposed courthouse structure at 2 N. Church St. to 92,000 square feet, and to rezone the Pennington lot from R-6 (residential) to Government Center to allow for the construction of a parking garage.
Throughout the applications’ three trips to the Planning Commission, concerns about the impact on local traffic and neighborhoods, the aesthetics of the planned parking garage, in particular its size and design, and lighting atop the parking structure have been major concerns raised by commissioners and local residents. The commission ultimately recommended approval of all three applications, but concerns about the projects does not seem to have abated.
Tuesday night, many residents from the neighborhood turned out to voice their reservations to the council.
North Street resident JD Norman presented a petition signed by more than 70 residents opposed to many facets of the Pennington garage project in particular. (See petition at www.NoPenningtonGarage.com.) Others voiced fears about traffic enforcement, proposed construction hours and proffers.
Council members themselves said many of the concerns could be better addressed with more time.
“I would support a work session to see if we can troubleshoot some of these problems,” Councilwoman Suzanne Fox said, following a motion to move the items to the Feb. 22 work session by Councilwoman Katie Sheldon Hammler.