Loudoun County supervisors have started the regulatory process to clear the path for construction of a new 5,000-seat stadium, headquarters, and training facilities for the D.C. United soccer team at Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park just south of Leesburg.
The deal with the Major League Soccer team would also bring second-division professional men’s soccer team, four more soccer fields, and parking. D.C. United proposes to pay for all of those facilities, except for the parking, through a long-term lease. The county would own the stadium and fields.
But before any of that can be built, the supervisors must work through changes to the zoning and comprehensive plan in that area to allow for it. Time is tight—while those changes often take more than a year, going through a public process and hearings at both the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, the professional men’s team’s contract with their league requires them to start playing next spring.
To meet that schedule, county planners propose the application go through a faster-than-normal process, with Planning Commission review in June or July, and Board of Supervisors action in July or September.
The project has met opposition from residents in the Kincaid Forest neighborhood. They are worried that the stadium operations will require the opening Kincaid Boulevard, which goes through their neighborhood. If opened, it would connect Bolen Park to Battlefield Parkway. Currently, the only other access to the park is on Sycolin Road or a winding route from Cochran Mill Road.
Because of the Kincaid Forest concerns, the Leesburg Town Council has resisted opening Kincaid Boulevard to through traffic until Crosstrail Boulevard is complete. When finished, Crosstrail will connect Bolen Park directly to Rt. 7 at the Village at Leesburg.
County planners have accelerated construction plans for the Crosstrail extension, but it is still not expected to be ready by the time the stadium opens.
“We won’t know the time lag until we kind of get into the issue some,” said County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “We believe it will be 18 months to two years, but we have to start the process to really know that.”
Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) argued the stadium won’t have as much impact as those residents fear.
“There’s like 15 or 16 fields in that area already,” Higgins said. “… So there’s already quite a bit of traffic in and out of there that is occurring normally with the fields that are in that area.”
Leesburg District Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) continues to oppose the project, citing the neighborhood concerns.
Supervisors adopted the zoning work plan 7-1-1, with Umstattd opposed and Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) absent.