Loudoun supervisors have designated an area just outside the Leesburg town limits as a Virginia Housing Development Authority revitalization area, giving developers there a leg up on winning tax credits to create affordable
Although county staff members recommended designating the entire Leesburg Joint Land Management Area, an area bordering the town to the east and south, as a revitalization area, supervisors voted to designate only a portion of that area after concerns from some Leesburg Town Council members.
County staff members told the Town Council in January that designating the area a “revitalization area” with the Virginia Housing Development Authority could give rental housing developers a better chance at winning state tax credits for maintaining below-market rents. Low Income Housing Tax Credits are administered by the state and handed out through a competitive process—and applications from designated revitalization areas are given a leg up in the competition.
In fact, Loudoun’s entire Suburban Policy Area—covering much of eastern Loudoun—has been designated that way since December 2017. Developers have already benefitted from the tax credits that that designation may have helped them win.
Staff members also told the Town Council that the designation applies only with in the walls of the VHDA—it would not alter local zoning. But Mayor Kelly Burk and some council members worried nonetheless that it would encourage redevelopment in newer neighborhoods surrounding Leesburg, or encouraging the construction of homes near Leesburg Executive Airport.
In response, county supervisors crafted a new revitalization area map limited to property south of Rt. 7, and stopping well short of the airport at Kincaid Boulevard and south of Cochran Mill Road. Its eastern boundary, following the Joint Land Management Area, is along Goose Creek.
That action was against staff’s advice to designate the entire JLMA to avoid being arbitrary in their designations, to be consistent with their previous actions and avoid limiting future financing in the area.
Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) pointed out the new, smaller area, worked out between her and Supervisor Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin), excludes newer neighborhoods to the north of Rt. 7, commercial areas like Compass Creek, and areas around Leesburg Executive Airport, while still including Tuscarora Crossing, where the developer may wish to apply for that state financing.
“I think it accomplishes what we need to accomplish, and doesn’t result in any unforeseen negative consequences,” Umstattd said.
County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said, “the only reason we’re doing this is because they’re another elected body, and we’re trying to show deference and respect to the other elected body.
“It’s a good reason to me, to show deference and respect to another elected body, it’s a fine reason, but I would appreciate it if Leesburg, both the administration and the Town Council, makes note of the fact that’s why we’re doing this,” Randall said.
Supervisors voted 8-0 on Feb. 4, with Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent.