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Loudoun County Planning Commission gets to work on 3,700-home Silver District West development

The 158-acre Silver District West development would add more than 3,700 homes off of Loudoun County Parkway.
Loudoun County’s Planning Commission is reviewing one of the largest developments proposed in the county in recent years.

If approved, the 158-acre Silver District West in Ashburn would add 3,706 townhomes and multifamily homes expected to generate more than 1,400 students, a nine-acre elementary school, 620,000 square feet of office space and 239,500 square feet of retail space

The site is south of the Dulles Greenway along the Loudoun County Parkway exit, which splits the property in half.

The proposal has been in the works since 2013 and is being spearheaded by Detroit-based Soave Enterprises and its subsidiaries, the Brambleton Group and SA Associates South.

At an Oct. 24 Planning Commission meeting, county staff said Loudoun’s current Comprehensive Plan did not anticipate the kind of development Silver District West was proposing in an area meant to serve as a keynote employment hub.

However, with Metro coming to Loudoun in 2020, they said Silver District West was the type of development Loudoun envisioned around the transit system.

Before the proposal reached the Planning Commission’s desk, hundreds of residents took to the county’s online land application portal to express strong opposition to the plan, and a handful of Ashburn residents attended the commission’s Oct. 24 meeting to voice their concerns.

Prominent land-use attorney Colleen Gillis of Cooley argued the development would help Loudoun pay for the federal transportation loan the county took out to pay for the Silver Line’s construction and the three parking garages.

“Ensuring that we are developing this property sooner rather than later means that we, the taxpayers of Loudoun County, do not have to shoulder that huge and growing burden of our decision to opt into Metro,” Gillis, who was a strong proponent of Metro into Loudoun, said.

She also said the proposal was in line with the county’s current land use planning for urban mixed-use development in the Silver Line tax district and would actually help relieve traffic in the area.

But residents of the development-wary area urged the Planning Commission to reject the application. They said they were tired of sitting in traffic on Loudoun County Parkway, and that the area simply cannot accommodate the volume of residents the development would bring.

“Cramming 3,000 homes in 158 acres is not going to pay the [Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act] loan,” said Ashburn resident Ramana Kanakamdala. “ … You can’t cram homes for the sake of paying some loan for the Metro. You have to look at the quality of life.”

Another Ashburn resident said he lost sleep ahead of the Planning Commission meeting after learning about the proposal, because he could not imagine the additional cars the development would put on Loudoun County Parkway, worsening his commute to work.

Planning Commissioners also questioned how many students the proposed homes would generate.

“We can appreciate the concerns and the considerations of the community around this. We’ve marketed this property for offices for a number of years, to avail to no success and so, while I know that the focus of the community is on the residents, we are also, though, providing for 620,000 square feet of office and almost 250,000 square- eet of commercial and retail uses, which we hope will similarly benefit the community neighboring to us and nearby us,” Gillis said.

The Planning Commission agreed to send the proposal to a future work session for additional discussion.

After the Planning Commission considers the application, it will then decide whether to forward to the Board of Supervisors for approval.


Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @SydneyKashiwagi.

Comments


GoodSamaritan,

Building more $450k townhomes will do nothing to help the affordable housing problem.  Neither will any of the other Silver Line developments.


more cowbell,

I really like your idea about having different shifts at the schools, sounds pretty innovative (seriously).


We need those homes and more. We needed them yesterday. Loudoun residents are suffering due to total lack of affordable housing which should be the highest priority of the planning commission and the Board of supervisors.


You think people living there will pay the current $6 each way to travel 3 miles on the Greenway?  Hell no, they will all be Waxpool or the future connector on the south side.


Watch how the number of homes doubles to 7500 closer to the time. We can just send kids to schools in shifts, since we won’t have any space to build new schools.


Hold on a second.  I thought the world-class land use planning strategy was to build data centers next to the new billion dollar metro.

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