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Supervisors approve Paul VI Catholic High School’s relocation to Loudoun

Development proposal for Paul VI Catholic High School in Loudoun.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved plans for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington to relocate Paul VI Catholic High School from Fairfax to Loudoun County.

The board voted unanimously -- though Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) was off the dais -- on a motion offered by Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) to approve an application allowing the private high school at Braddock Road and Gum Spring Road for up to 2,000 students equipped with athletic fields, 850 parking spaces and the utilization of a gymnasium for school Masses for up to 2,000 students.

The decision comes after supervisors previously voiced concerns about traffic congestion they feared the new school would bring with it.

But in a proffer statement dated Oct. 31 the diocese outlined a parking management plan they said would be reviewed by the county zoning administrator and implemented prior to occupancy. The traffic management plan states the diocese will manage on-site and off-site traffic for a one hour period during morning and after school drop off times as well as for any special events.

The school has also proffered $1.5 to the widening of Braddock Road as well as a west and eastbound turn-lane into main entrance of the school in addition to other traffic modifications.

“There is going to be traffic concerns along Braddock Road and that exists in the current condition, that will exist whether or not this high school is built,” Letourneau, who represents the area the property is in, said. “But the applicant is providing a million and a half dollars for us to help with Braddock Road.”

Supervisors' concerns about traffic congestion had also focused around the fact that the diocese did not have a concrete bus service plan.

Representative Roger Bowers of the diocese told supervisors on Tuesday the church would be willing to provide a bus service at the request of the families, but that the service would be provided at an at need basis.

Ahead of the vote, attorney Nick DePalma, representing nearby property owner Peter Knop, asked the board to defer action on the application.

DePalma said at least an acre of his client’s land was where the applicant was proposing reforestation and asked the county to “notice an adverse possession.”

But County Attorney Leo Rogers explained there was no way the county could make such a last-minute determination.

“I do appreciate that there may be new concerns that we’re hearing about tonight, but this application has been through an extensive public process. It had a public hearing with the Board of Supervisors, it had a public hearing at the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission had a work session,” Letourneau said.

“The bigger picture here is a new high school with a future capacity in it’s final phase of up to 2,000 students,” Letourneau added.

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