It’s back: Supervisors vote to reconsider One Loudoun rezoning application
The application, which last month included building 300 residential units in exchange for a park and ride, will be reconsidered and likely discussed by supervisors at their March 23 business meeting.
The motion to reconsider followed a hostile 5-4 vote to deny the application on Feb. 23. Supervisors at the time voiced concerns about the lack of surrounding infrastructure to support the development, as well as staying true to deals made with applicants when applications are finalized.
The effort to reconsider the application was spearheaded by Vice Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Supervisors Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles).
Buona said he and Letourneau had multiple meetings and phone calls with One Loudoun officials in a bid to try to reach a solution to address their previous concerns.
After “several iterations,” Buona said, they had reached “an acceptable conclusion and solution” on the application, which included changes to the applicant’s proffers.
“With new information, you might think differently,” Buona said.
The vice chair's change of heart on the application came after his colleague, Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run), warned supervisors last month that he and his constituents would hold any board member who voted against the One Loudoun rezoning "accountable."
“Anyone who votes against this and -- I know who you are -- who supported 4,400 townhomes, I will hold you accountable, my constituents will hold you accountable anytime you run for anything else down the road,” Meyer said. “I will tell you that, and I will ensure it.”
Buona told Meyer he did not appreciate threats.
"Be careful...be careful," Buona said.
When asked Tuesday about specifics of the new proffers and number of residential units the applicant was currently asking for, Buona declined to say, adding that the details have not yet been finalized.
The latest decision to reconsider the application comes after months of deliberation and negotiations centered on the number of residential units -- a number that dropped by more than half since January.
Other supervisors said they had agreed to reconsider the application because there had been a breakdown in communication among board members.
“I think we certainly did not have a clear communication on exactly what the project was, what the applicant wanted to do, what their vision was and then what the board’s vision is,” Letourneau said.
Letourneau said his discussion with Buona and the applicant since last month’s vote gave them time to establish a “framework” they could move forward with that would be beneficial both for the applicant and county.
“I think that the confusion on this issue did not come from the applicant. I think the confusion on this issue came from my colleagues on this dais,” Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said. “I think there was a lot of statements made and a lot of deals brokered that didn't happen along with behind the scenes talks. It just got very very convoluted fairly quickly.”
Last year, the developer asked to build 725 more residential units in exchange to proffer a massive sportsplex facility, something county officials said would bring new revenue to the county.
Last month’s version of the application included developer Miller & Smith agreeing to lower the number of residential units down to 300 and proffer out a $3.29 million park and ride lot and a $3.2 million capital facilities contribution. Miller & Smith had also agreed to provide affordable housing units.
County staff have continuously expressed concern about the developer’s request for a reduction of the building setback to Route 7 from 300 feet to 235 feet.
Staff also estimated that the office space originally proposed by One Loudoun developers has been reduced by about 1 million square feet over the years.
Tuesday night’s motion to reconsider passed 5-2-2 with Randall and Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) opposed and Supervisors Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) and Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent for the vote.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the vote to reconsider the application was 6-1-2 with Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) opposed and Supervisors Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) and Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent for the vote. However, the 6-1-2 vote was a second vote during the discussion to send the application to the March 23 business meeting.
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