Leesburg Premium Outlets received the approval it did not have previously—to operate retail kiosks on the outlet mall property.
By a 4-1-1 vote Tuesday night, the council voted to approve a series of zoning text amendments to allow retail kiosks in developments of at least 500,000 square feet.
Essentially the large square footage minimum attached to the amendments means the outlets are currently the only commercial development in town that can qualify to host kiosks. Currently, the outlet mall has eight such kiosks, but only six are currently being utilized. Next month the property owner is set to come to the Town Council for an unrelated rezoning, and has already indicated a desire to have 10 kiosks on the property. According to a staff report, the first kiosks appeared at the outlets in 2005, although no approval was sought or received for their development.
Tuesday night, the council wrestled over what was the right number of kiosks to allow in such a development. Members of the Planning Commission had recommended a maximum of five, but some council members said they found that number to be arbitrary. Should the council have gone forward with the commission’s recommended five-kiosk maximum, the outlet mall would have had to remove others beyond that number, Zoning Administrator Michael Watkins said.
Mayor Kelly Burk reminded the council that they were not setting much of a precedent with the action, as it would only apply to one current town development.
“This only applies to one piece of property. We don’t have a large mall anywhere else,” she said. “You’re limiting this rather large piece of property…I don’t know why we’re being so arbitrary.”
Ultimately, the council settled on allowing eight retail kiosks on minimum 500,000-square-foot developments, which gives the outlets permission to utilize all in its current inventory. This means that if the property owner does desire to have 10 on the property as previously indicated, they will have to go through a special exception process for the additional two kiosks.
Councilman Neil Steinberg dissented on the vote, and Councilman Tom Dunn abstained.