The Leesburg Planning Commission is evaluating applications by Kettler to develop a 64-unit townhouse development along Edwards Ferry Road, between the Costco and the Edwards Landing neighborhood.
The almost 14-acre property is zoned for commercial development, but Kettler is seeking a change to a Planned Residential Neighborhood (PRN) designation. A Town Plan amendment to allow medium-density residential development on the parcel of land—as long as adequate buffers are provided and tree cover preserved—is also proposed.
According to Town Planner Rich Klusek, the application that came before the commission April 19. “is a substantial improvement over where we were in the past.”
Klusek noted that the application is on its fifth submission and was originally envisioned as an active adult community, with not as much distance between residences and the Costco building. He noted that the proposed development would achieve many of the objectives laid out in the Town Plan, including protecting residences from incompatible uses. He said that many commercial uses could be developed on the site by right today, including some that could be more disruptive to neighbors.
As proposed, the closest townhouse would be 220 feet east of Costco. Noise mitigation options remain a key concern of the town staff. Klusek noted that, in standing on the site where houses would sit, he could hear sounds from Costco’s loading dock and dumpsters, as well as truck traffic to the back of the building.
“We’re just not completely sure this project achieves compatibility,” Klusek said.
Christine Gleckner, a land use planner from the Walsh Colucci law firm representing the applicant, said they view this development as an “infill property” with a good transition between existing residences and Costco.
“We are proffering to do a noise study and mitigate based on the noise study,” she said.
Several Edwards Landing residents shared their concerns with commissioners during last week’s public hearing.
John Mcclung said that during a recent meeting the applicant had promised homeowners “they were fully committed to doing what is minimally required.”
“I think the town can do better,” he said.
Jully McQuilliams, whose property backs to the proposed development, said she was concerned about impacts to the tree preservation area and drainage, as well as noise mitigation.
“We have a very hard lesson learned from the Costco experience. The original homeowners paid a premium for wooded views and then got Costco after the fact,” she said.
McQuilliams also noted that the Costco developer inadvertently cut down trees in the tree preservation area, but then only planted saplings after realizing their mistake.
“Keep the mature trees that are there,” she said. “That is the biggest thing that can help with the noise impact.”
Commissioners will continue discussion of the project at their June 7 work session.