The Town of Leesburg is preparing for its next annual budget, and several items in the budget hinge on the adoption of the new town plan, which was cited as one of the Town Council’s top priorities in a strategic planning session last spring.
And with the clock ticking on the council’s adoption of its comprehensive plan update, Legacy Leesburg, council members have expressed strong reservations about how the Crescent Design District is portrayed in the draft document.
At a recent work session, council members continued to voice concerns about the Crescent District, considered to be one of the major redevelopment areas in the town, and have urged updates to the Crescent District Master Plan, which was adopted back in 2006.
“I was here when we first did the Crescent District plan. I remember very seriously having doubts about it because of the term ‘urban.’ One of the people on the committee said ‘wait until you get your first application and then see if it’s compatible to what you’re looking for,’” Mayor Kelly Burk recalled. “Our first application has been Virginia Village. I share some others’ concerns about the huge increase in density and lack of transportation abilities we have. We really do need to go back and look at the Crescent District plan.”
Town staff members, however, have urged the council to proceed with adoption of Legacy Leesburg and said updates to the Crescent District document can occur afterwards.
“We hear you, we understand there are a number of concerns, we have no intent of dismissing them but they think need to be addressed in a different manner than Legacy Leesburg,” senior planner Rich Klusek said.
Klusek recommended the council proceed with the adoption of Legacy Leesburg, then initiate a re-evaluation of the Crescent District Master Plan that begins with a public engagement process. Then, the council can refine or update the Crescent District plan and, if necessary, Legacy Leesburg based on those changes. Staff is also looking to undertake a major revision of the Zoning Ordinance, part of the reason an additional staff member is sought in the Planning & Zoning Department.
“By delaying of the adoption of Legacy Leesburg we have nothing to gain,” Klusek said. “While the council is redefining the vision of the Crescent District Master Plan Legacy Leesburg provides an opportunity to ask some more of those difficult question to better shape the application to fit council’s desires. If we wait, it’s status quo.”