With the Loudoun County Finance and Internal Operations Committee currently reviewing alternatives to address future needs of the County Court System, the Leesburg Town Council were briefed on options for the upcoming phase III project during their June 25 work session.
Beginning in 1997, the county built a two-phase expansion project of its courts complex after learning through a planning study that space was needed due to growing case loads.
That expansion was completed between 1998 and 2004.
While phase I and II were being constructed, a phase III project was identified to meet future needs, planned to be constructed on the site of the former Adult Detention Center at the corner of Market and Church streets.
Based on the case load projection, that 60,000-square-foot building was scheduled to be completed in 2011.
According to Loudoun County documents, the study has been updated twice since 1997 and it was determined in the fiscal 2011 Adopted Capital Improvement Program the square footage needed to be increased from 60,000 to 85,000.
With a number of issues, including pedestrian and vehicle traffic, adequate parking areas and security, now associated with the plan and site, the county has been forced to find an alternative.
There are currently five options to consider. The first is using the Church Street site with surface parking. The second is keeping the Church Street site and having structured parking. The third is using the Church Street site with leased space in the planned Courthouse Square development. The fourth is moving the General District Court to the Government Support Center off Sycolin Road. The fifth option is moving General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to the Government Support Center.
County staff has recommended to the Board of Supervisors the relocation of the Courts Complex Phase III project from the Church Street site to the Government Support Center site as well as recommended moving the General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts to the Government Support Center site as part of the project.
Leesburg’s Town Council is currently reviewing the options as well because they have expressed interest in keeping the County Courts in the Town limits.
Mayor Kristen Umstattd is concerned about the impact putting part of the Court system on Sycolin Road will add to the already congested area.
“If building cross trails from [Route] 7 to Sycolin is not part of the plan and it appears not to be at this time, then you are going to be sending all that traffic down Kincaid or Sycolin Drive, which are two highly unpopular approaches, because they are already heavily backed up with the commuter parking lot and Kincaid Boulevard being a community street,” Umstattd said. “I think the community would probably feel that the county had given them a line and was not sticking to its word if it begins moving high volume uses down there.
“I think we all want to keep the Circuit Court and as many of the court functions in town as possible. You have multiple opportunities to do that without basically creating a hornet’s nest on the Sycolin Road property,” Umstattd said.
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