The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has approved a redevelopment proposal for the CountrySide Regal Cinema complex.
The project calls for developing 166 stacked, multi-family residential units in place of the cinema built in 1996, according to county staff.
Algonkian Supervisor Juli Briskman (D) said the number of affordable dwelling units has been increased to 19.
The board voted 8-1 during its April 21 business meeting in favor of the proposal, with Leesburg Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D) opposing the motion made by Briskman.
Umstattd said she didn’t think it was a good idea to convert land zoned for commercial to residential. She voiced concern with the proposal's impact on the school division and county tax rate.
“Even though certain proffers remain towards certain projects at the schools, those do not pay for the operational expenses every year of educating the additional children,” Umstattd said. “We love having them, but that does tend to put the existing kids at a disadvantage as it tends to overcrowd schools and it puts a strain on our tax rate.”
The 11-acre site is located between Route 7 and Tripleseven Road in Sterling.
Sterling Meadow LLC, the applicant, is proposing to proffer four recreation spaces combining for a minimum of 35,200 square feet. The proposal also includes a contribution for the CountrySide Elementary School playground and walking track and field, Potomac Falls High weight room and stadium, Sugarland Run Elementary playground, and stage curtains, gym floors and carpet at River Bend Middle School.
In the months leading up to the hearing, residents expressed concern about the high-density development's impact on local schools and transportation.
Briskman, who represents residents in the area, told the Times-Mirror in March she’s happy to see something being done with the theater. She met with her constituents in February to discuss the item.
“I know folks get a little bit nervous about more housing coming in, but it's either that or a bunch of empty shopping centers, because in the Suburban Policy Area it's mixed-use that's going to be the best thing,” Briskman said. “We're so over retailed in Loudoun County. If we just leave that retail space open, it's not going to be thriving — and so I think developments like Sterling Meadow is going to bring people to hopefully help those businesses in the front side of CountrySide thrive and pick up a little bit more.”