Supervisors Frustrated with Planning Commission’s Work

Some Loudoun County supervisors expressed frustration with what they saw as inadequate review by the Planning Commission of the commission’s annual report Thursday.

Large rezonings and other land use decisions face review at the county’s Planning Commission, which negotiates with developers and makes recommendations before passing the application on to the Board of Supervisors. But some supervisors said some of those applications needed more work before they came to the county board—most recently, the ongoing Silver District West application to put a 3,706-home, mixed-use development on 158 acres along the Greenway.

The property’s owners have asked the county for permission to build nearly a quarter-million square feet of office space, 240,000 square feet of retail space, a site for an elementary school, a public park, 381 townhouses, and 3,325 multi-family units. The Planning Commission recommended approving that application 7-1-1, with Salmon opposed and Commissioner Tom Priscilla (Blue Ridge) absent. Supervisors have sent that application to what are expected to be several meetings at the board’s Transportation and Land Use Committee.

“When you approve an application, you approve it as-is. Not with work to do, but as-is,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles), adding “If you don’t agree with an aspect of that application, please don’t send it to us with an approval.”

“The role of the Planning Commission, when you know you’re going to recommend approval to the Board of Supervisors, is to make it the best application possible,” said Supervisor Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn). He said the commission has “the green light to push back on applicants.”

Commissioner Jeff Salmon (Dulles), who chaired the commission last year, said much of that frustration may be down to problems with communication.

“We intend to communicate more fully to the board and be more explicit in our recommendations,” Salmon said. He also encouraged supervisors to speak with their appointed commissioners when they are unclear.

Current Commission Chairman Cliff Keirce (Broad Run) agreed.

“Give us that feedback, because unless we get it back, we don’t know your concerns,” Keirce said. “And that’s how we can grow and learn from that.”

5 thoughts on “Supervisors Frustrated with Planning Commission’s Work

  • 2018-04-23 at 12:27 pm

    Its not just the Silver District West application, this goes back to the Short Hill mountain data center decision, and more recently the rezoning north of lucketts for potentially the largest gas station on the county. All of these projects could have use a great deal more intense scrutiny. The tough part is also that many community members don’t pay attention until the projects reach the Board of Supervisors, after the real “work” has already happened, largely devoid of outside input.

  • 2018-04-23 at 1:08 pm

    Maybe 2 problems are at hand that is not being discussed publicly. Jim Sisley is self serving because he sells real estate, so why would he scrutinize an application, like Short Hill? and Ad barnes is moonlighting on the Leesburg Planning Commission, but he never pulled his weight any way. There are a few other lame brains on the county PC, too

  • 2018-04-24 at 2:39 pm

    Please clarify your point Vindicator. All Loudoun Planning Commissioners have jobs of one sort or another and all were vetted/appointed by publicly elected representatives who won their election in uncontested local elections.

    So, why is it a “problem” that one Planning Commissioner sells real estate and another is on the Leesburg Planning Commission. The public awaits your wisdom.

  • 2018-04-24 at 5:30 pm

    Frankly, several if not all of the Planning Commission members should be fired. This is the most important commission in the County. Ignorance is no excuse for incompetence.


  • 2018-04-27 at 6:15 pm

    We had a EPA superfund site meeting Thursday and Randall was nowhere to be found. Thanks for your support but don’t expect ours.

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