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Leesburg allows more affordable housing units

Responding to concerns about the inability of retail and restaurant workers to live in town, the Leesburg Town Council has unanimously voted to raise its cap on affordable dwelling units (ADUs).

In a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Loudoun County, council voted to allow the county to administer 120 ADUs, up from the original 40 approved in 2009. The memorandum initially proposed Tuesday night would have removed the cap altogether, but council wanted to take a more cautious approach and see how raising the cap would impact the town.

“This is more than an MOA. This is an action item. We intend to look at workforce housing,” Councilman Ron Campbell said. “We really intend to look at the opportunity with our developers.”

Loudoun County administers 2,200 ADUs, including attached, detached and multi-family units, for individuals who make between 30 and 70 percent of the area median income determined by the HUD Exchange. For Loudoun County, the area median income for a family of four is $110,300, and the average income of new ADU purchasers is around $48,000. A family or individual eligible for an ADU can buy or rent a property at a reduced price.

Loudoun makes certain requirements on ADUs. For instance, a family who buys an ADU can sell it for full market value after 15 years. Before that time, the family must sell the unit with the county and split any proceeds 50-50.

Developers who make or renovate developments of more than 24 units are requested to provide ADUs, whether townhouse, detached house or apartment.

In Leesburg, a developer built 30 ADUs in 2014. Of these, only 24 were bought by ADU certificate holders within 90 days. The developer sold the rest for full market value, splitting the proceeds with the county.

Several council members were concerned about removing the cap entirely, especially since Leesburg has never reached the full amount. Several Loudoun districts have much larger and active ADU programs. Dulles, for instance, has 830.

“I’d rather see that we have the ability to manage the program…instead of just going from a 40 cap to an unlimited cap,” Councilman Tom Dunn said.

Only Mayor Kelly Burk and Martinez voted against Dunn’s amendment to cap ADUs at 120, and the memorandum itself passed unanimously.

“I grew up pretty poor,” Councilman Fernando Martinez said. “These kind of social programs would help me and my family get where we are today.”


Unsure why they need ADUs, majority of housing in Leesburg is overcrowded with multiple families per unit. My brother is an electrician and he can’t believe how some people live. Up to 20 people living in one 2 bedroom apartment.

Good place for them…will blend in well.

If they build these ADU’s near the “siete once” on Plaza St. the “workforce” in Leesburg won’t have far to walk to hang out in the parking lot all day.

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