County supervisors last night approved One Loudoun’s application for more residential units, bringing to a close months of negotiations that saw the application turned down and reconsidered.
Ultimately, One Loudon’s developer, Miller & Smith, won approval for 200 additional residential units, less than a third the number of units originally sought. The revised application includes 40 townhomes and 160 apartments—a reduction from 685 apartments and 40 townhomes when supervisors first saw it. When application was voted down in February, it was down to 40 townhouses and 260 apartments.
One Loudoun was previously approved for 3 million square feet of office space, more than 700,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space, and 1,040 residential units.
County board Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn), who had earlier voted against the rezoning, made the motion to reconsider the application and on Thursday made a successful motion to approve the revised application. He said voting on residential applications is about “maximizing our opportunity in our economy.”
“This is kind of what we want to build, is more town center-oriented development, because the other growth is crushing us,” Buona said. “The other housing is crushing us. It generates lots of students.”
Buona said he and Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) negotiated the new application with Miller & Smith through the county staff. Letourneau, who voted against the previous application, said the latest revision of the application is “advantageous” to the county.
“The reality is that One Loudoun is a place that has density, that has restaurants, that has retail, and that has the type of product that is successful in this marketplace,” Letourneau said.
Supervisor Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) said told One Loudoun developers early on that he would not support an application with more than 200 residential units. Having reached 200 units, he said he would support that application.
“We have to build a lot of residential units in the Metro tax district to help pay for Metro, so if there’s going to be applications coming in for 700, 800 units, it needs to be in the Metro tax district, not elsewhere,” Buffington said, pointing out that One Loudoun is not in the county’s Metro tax district.
The long dissenting vote was Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg). She said the application would put additional burden on schools and taxpayers.
“I look at what the citizens of Loudoun County have requested of us, and they have said the number one concern is the rapid growth,” Umstattd said.
Umstattd said County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), who was not at the meeting, said she would have voted against the application as well.
Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run), who sparked anger on the board by promising “I will hold you accountable, my constituents will hold you accountable, any time you run for anything in the future” during the vote to turn down the application in February, spoke of a “healing process” between himself and other board members.
“As of today, and as of the last few weeks, we’re all doing a better job, and I’m certainly personally doing a better job communicating with the other board members,” Meyer said, saying “the press is obsessed with sensationalizing.” He then pivoted to explain his previous remarks:
“The reason why I was prone to frustration was because, and this is still the case, is that we have a few supervisors who support affordable housing as a concept but not in practice,” Meyer said. “Now we have some supervisors who are out there clamoring for density in some places and then saying that this is going to hurt traffic. That is ridiculous.” He pointed to Russell Branch Parkway, a four-lane divided road by One Loudoun which stretches from Claiborne Parkway to Pacific Boulevard near Rt. 28.
The developer’s proffer statement includes 20 “workforce housing” apartments, available to people making less than the Loudoun median income; five apartments for unmet housing needs, available to people making less than the Washington Metropolitan Area median income; and at least five units for the county’s affordable dwelling units program.
The latest application describes mixed-use buildings with commercial space on the first floor. At least 80 percent of the frontage on Exchange Street must be pedestrian-oriented businesses, and no ground-floor residences are permitted along that street.
One Loudoun’s developer will also build a park-and-ride lot with a at least 200 spaces—although the applicant has discussed the possibility of more—and pay the county $1,465,931 to offset capital impacts, taking a $3.29 million credit for the parking garage.
The application still includes a request to reduce the construction setback along Rt. 7, from the 300-foot standard to 235 feet. Despite the reduced residential numbers, county planners still objected to some aspects of the application, such as the setback, the elimination of previously proffered open space on the property, and the design of a self-storage mini-warehouse.
“Staff has also raised concerns that the applicant is requesting 19 zoning modifications, many of which do little to achieve a public purpose or improve upon existing regulations,” the staff report stated.
Supervisors approved the application 7-0-1, Umstattd opposed, Randall absent.