Two professional sports franchises expect to launch their inaugural seasons in Loudoun County in 2014, and the Board of Supervisors did its part April 3 to ensure that happens.
The board approved on a 7-0-1-1 vote the comprehensive plan for a 5,500-seat sports stadium to be built at the One Loudoun mixed-use development near the intersection of Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway. Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) abstained from the vote and Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) was absent for personal reasons.
The ballpark, expected to house two expansion teams – the Loudoun Hounds with the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and the Virginia Cavalry with the North American Soccer League – as well as a variety of concerts and special events, was for years planned for the Kincora development roughly one mile east of One Loudoun, but Kincora has had trouble shoring up financing and transportation concerns. Last year officials with One Loudoun and the Loudoun Hounds announced the plan to relocate the stadium.
Both the Hounds and the Cavalry are owned by VIP Sports and Entertainment.
While in recent months a contingent of residents near the stadium site have raised objections – citing noise, traffic and other issues – the vast majority of speakers at a public hearing in March supported the project.
As approved, key agreements between the One Loudoun developers and the county include: there will be no more than 17 music concerts a year at the stadium and those will only occur on weekends or holidays; concerts on Fridays and Saturdays must end by 11 p.m.; baseball games cannot begin between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays; bus and shuttle service will be offered for attendees; a decibel-limit will be enacted for all events; and firework shows, not to exceed 10 minutes, will be limited to 12 per year and those may only take place on weekends or holidays.
Board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) noted the county worked closely with project officials and county staff to reduce the concerns of nearby residents.
The county's Planning Commission approved the project in March.
“I am satisfied where we are with this,” York said. “I want to applaud the Planning Commission for working with this … I think at the end of the day we'll have a dynamic project [at One Loudoun].”
Of his abstention, Supervisor Reid said he supports the Hounds and the stadium in general, but wasn't prepared to take a vote on the specific proposal April 3.
“I'm concerned about the traffic, I'm concerned about the noise ...” Reid said.
If construction goes as planned, the stadium is expected to be completed by mid-2014.
“Tonight’s strong vote of support is a testament to the level of support and desire to have professional sports to call our own in Northern Virginia and Loudoun County,” Bob Farren, president and CEO of VIP Sports and Entertainment, said in a prepared statement following the vote. “I want to profusely thank our fans who have supported us over these many years and I can’t wait to put a shovel in the ground and create a facility that will be a source of affordable, family fun for generations to come.”
One Loudoun, a joint project of Miller & Smith and North America Sekisui House, is planning a grand opening at the site May 3.
This story has been updated from a previous version.