Plans to put one of the largest gas stations in Loudoun along Rt. 15 near Point of Rocks are headed to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors with a recommendation of approval from the Planning Commission.
Originally proposed as a 5,600-square-foot convenience store accompanied by 12 gas pumps with 24 refueling stations, the property’s owners revised that application down to 20 fueling stations to be built on a 4.4-acre parcel across Rt. 15 from the Cigarette Outlet.
County planners remain opposed to the project, arguing the development doesn’t fit with rural development goals, and that county policies discourage expanding the rural commercial district, the zoning change the property’s owners are requesting.
According to a county staff report on the proposal, “this highway-oriented proposal with 20 fuel pumps is not agriculturally based, does not preserve farmland or open space, and does not contribute to the rural economy as intended in the [comprehensive] plan such as farming, agriculture, the equine industry, rural recreation, tourism, and compatible rural institutional uses.”
The application has faced strong public opposition, including a petition with more than 100 signatures. That petition pointed to the heavy congestion on Rt. 15 and the property’s proximity to the Potomac River.
But planning commissioners argued the proposal would be better than a county-approved plan from 1988 that would allow up to 8,000 square feet of retail space. Spokesman David D’Onofrio said the owners have decided that if the gas station is not approved, they’ll build a prefabricated metal cigarette outlet already allowed on the property—plans which have existed since 1988, and which would put the cigarette outlet across the street from another.
The application comes to the Board of Supervisors with an 8-1 vote in favor from the Planning Commission, with Commissioner Eugene Scheel (Catoctin) opposed. Scheel, whose district includes the property, said, “I don’t think a commercial venture of this type is appropriate in a rural, historic district.”
The gas station would be the largest in the county’s rural policy, with the next-largest two stations boasting only eight pumps, according to research by county staff members. It would be as large as the largest gas stations anywhere in the county, rivalled only by the 20 pumps at the Shell station at Pleasant Valley Road and Rt. 50, and the Royal Farms on Van Metre Drive off Broadlands Boulevard.
The owners have made an agreement with Visit Loudoun to sell and promote Loudoun County businesses and products at the station in 100 square feet of the store, and to donate $25,000 toward creating an app to map out and tie together rural businesses in western Loudoun.
Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 6 p.m. June 13.
This article was updated to correct an error regarding the date of the public hearing.