The would-be developers of the Crescent Parke project have filed a court challenge to the Leesburg Town Council’s failure to approve its rezoning application. However, the group holds out hope that it can build support for the project.
The lawsuit was filed in Loudoun County Circuit Court on Thursday, meeting the statutory deadline to challenge the council’s July 26 vote. At that meeting, a motion to approve the rezoning failed on a 3-4 vote. However, the council did not take a formal vote to deny the project. Town Attorney Barbara Notar said such a motion was not necessary. The developers disagree and part of the lawsuit is a claim that the application remains pending.
The application sought to rezone 53 acres of vacant commercial land to permit a mixed-use development that would include 198 townhouses, 96 stacked townhouses and 96 multifamily dwelling units. Nonresidential uses would have included a maximum of 110,550 square feet of office space, 137,000 square feet of retail, an area for a future hotel, and a 2,000-square-foot community room. The land stretches from the end of Gateway Drive to Davis Drive along the edge of the Leesburg Bypass.
Attorney John Foote, representing MREC LD Leesburg Crossing LLC, said Thursday there are no plans to press ahead with the lawsuit at this time, but the filing preserves the developers’ right to appeal should future talks fail.
In addition to the procedural issue, the lawsuit claims the council’s denial was arbitrary and capricious and left the landowners without an economically viable use.
Acting on the belief that the rezoning application remained pending following the July 26 meeting, the developers submitted revisions to the project Aug. 19 seeking to address some the concerns cited by the project’s four opponents. Those changes included excluding a 2.34-acre parcel from the rezoning, reducing the number of residential units requested, designating some units as age-restricted housing for residents 55 and older, and adding a phasing requirement to ensure commercial development occurs. The revised application also provides for a $1.05 million payment for off-site transportation improvements if the town opts not to accept the gift of Olde Izaak Walton Park as part of the proffer package.
The town staff declined to accept the revised application for consideration, citing the July 26 council vote as closing the case.