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Developers win as Leesburg districts exempted from state’s proffer law

Two up-and-coming Leesburg districts will be exempted from the commonwealth’s recent proffer legislation after a Leesburg Town Council vote Tuesday night.

“[It’s] a reasonable approach to an unreasonable bill,” Councilman Ron Campbell said.

Developers in the Crescent Design District and the East Market Street Small Area Plan – the area of Route 7 between Riverside Parkway and the Route 7/15 Bypass – will be able to present proffers to town staff when they wish to rezone properties as residential or mixed-use with residential components.

In response to a proposal from the Homebuilders Association of America last year, the commonwealth of Virginia passed a statute that prohibited rezoning proffers with a residential component. Before the bill passed, if developers petitioned to rezone an area as residential, they could add improvements to alleviate traffic, help with infrastructure and make the rezoning more attractive to a local government. Proponents of the bill argued that towns used this process to take advantage of developers, but many localities—including Leesburg and Loudoun County—opposed its passage. In recent years, proffers have been used in Loudoun more than any other county in Virginia.

Now that the bill is in effect, no town can accept residential proffers filed after July 1, 2016. If a town does, it could be sued.

However, the new statute also provides an exemption for several categories, including small area comprehensive plans designated as revitalization areas and some mixed-use developments. Both of the Leesburg districts qualify for this exemption.

Leesburg has been searching for a solution to the new proffer legislation since the state law passed. In the meantime, the town has not accepted any proffers in these areas.

“We have to adopt this,” Councilman Ken Reid said. “The only thing we can do now is reject a rezoning.”

Councilman Tom Dunn was the only one to vote against the measure, calling it “excessive bureaucratic effort.”

For local developers, council’s decision is a victory. Peterson Companies is looking to develop a property in the East Market area, and the Crescent Design District has been undergoing revitalization with Hobie Mitchel’s Crescent Place and Crescent Parke developments.


Comments


Do we know how our local officials voted on the self-serving bill?  Drain the swamp!


Watch for developer Peterson to make a good sized donation to Ken Reid or his PAC.  According to Reid he had a conversation with Peterson on the same day he votes to allow Peterson the ability to give proffers in order to increase density.  Reid only has 2 interests: himself and himself.


The Council members in Leesburg and Loudoun should require that Loudoun and Leesburg tax paying contractors be used on any project within.  There are many small business construction companies in Loudoun as well as unemployed Carpenters and Craftsman that would appreciate the opportunity to work. Locals only should be the number 1 requirement.

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