Dulles World Phasing Changes Clear Committee - Leesburg Today Online—Daily News Coverage of Loudoun County, Leesburg, Ashburn: News

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Dulles World Phasing Changes Clear Committee

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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 3:33 pm

Although it was far from unanimous, the proposed changes to the phasing of Dulles World along Rt. 28—to accelerate construction of the development’s residential units—have passed the muster of the Transportation/Land Use Committee and are headed to the full Board of Supervisors.

The committee voted 3-2 Friday to forward the application with a recommendation of approval. The action signaled a change from the discussion at the full board last month, when supervisors called the plan a “bait and switch” from what was promised by the developer and a majority of the board indicated they were unlikely to support the changes.

With only three supervisors in support during the committee meeting, approval from the full board is far from certain, but it seems some supervisors were pleased by a decision by the developer to commit to build at least 30,000 square feet of retail uses on the ground floor of the multi-family units. The developer also would be required to finish construction of the interchange at Rt. 28 and Innovation Avenue before the first occupancy permit is issued.

Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) noted that many decisions were made before this board took office, including the adoption of new Rt. 28 development policies and approval of several rezoning in the area. Those items, along with the impact of the tax districts designed to pay for the construction and operation of Metro’s Silver Line in Loudoun, create a situation where the county has to work with the landowners in the area.

“One thing I know my constituent are looking for is for the tax districts to be successful. And that it not falling on the backs of people as far away as Lovettsville, Bluemont and Lowes Island,” Volpe said. “We have to look at the realities, we have to get road infrastructure built, and we have to get buildings on the ground to have this tax district be successful or it will fall on all of our backs.”

Volpe, Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) and Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) supported the application during the committee’s review, but Higgins noted he was “reserving final judgment” until the application came before the full board.

Dulles World was approved by the previous Board of Supervisors for more than 3 million square feet of office space; a hotel; more than 400,000 square feet of retail; and 1,265 multi-family units. It was pitched as a premier commercial development project that would capitalize on the proximity of the Metro rail stations, with residential units that would appeal to the young professional, thereby limiting the impact on schools and other county resources.

The 1,265 units are planned to be 900 square feet each and are estimated to create approximately 235 new school children for the county.

The proposed changes would not alter the development totals—only the order and timing of construction.

Under the new request, Dulles World is seeking to break the phasing of their development into several parts. As proposed by the Planning Commission, the first portion of development would allow for up to 475 multi-family residences with only the newly promised 30,000 square feet of retail required. Then developer would be able to build another 275 residential with 500,000 square feet of non-residential space, of which 250,000 must be office. Once the developer reaches 1 million square feet of non-residential, 500,000 square feet of which must be office development, it will be able to build an addition 275 residential units. Finally, once 1.5 million square feet of non-residential development is constructed, the final 240 residential units may be built. The remaining development on the property would be non-residential to meet the final build out numbers.

Supervisors Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) and Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) repeated concerns expressed last month that the requested changes were coming too soon and would not guarantee the delivery of the commercial-based development promised by Dulles World.

“It’s only been two years [since the development was approved],” Clarke said. “I just cannot understand why now suddenly you need this change. The economy is picking up. Metro is a great attraction.”

Clarke said she had been told that “you need residential before you can attract the retail,” and noted that was a familiar refrain recently. But she pointed out other developments that are being successful in the current market. “This is just too many residential units being moved up too soon.”

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • norges55 posted at 10:44 am on Wed, May 15, 2013.

    norges55 Posts: 1042

    So more money will be spent in order to get the votes nessary to pass the legislature and bypass the excutive branch altogether.

  • David Dickinson posted at 2:25 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    David Dickinson Posts: 980


    "A judge in Portsmouth Circuit Court in Plymouth VA, James Cales, ruling Wednesday against tolls on the Norfolk-Portsmouth tunnels under the Elizabeth River declared that the state's Public Private Transportation Act of 1995 involves an unconstitutional delegation of power to the executive branch. Judge Cales hasn't yet released a text of his ruling which was delivered orally yesterday.

    Patrick McSweeney the winning attorney tells us that it spells trouble for all public private partnerships in the state, and also for the Dulles Toll Road. The transfer of the Dulles Toll Road from the state to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority - a four jurisdiction US, DC, VA, MD agency - he says was done without constitutionally required approval by the legislature...."

  • norges55 posted at 2:07 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    norges55 Posts: 1042

    Where is the piece on the judges transfer ruling?

  • David Dickinson posted at 11:28 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    David Dickinson Posts: 980

    Just disgusting.

    Metro will be a monkey on Loudoun's back for decades.

    Glad to see a judge ruled the transfer of the Dulles Toll Road to MWAA was unconstitutional last week. Hopefully, something will stop this train wreck.


    The developers will get all their development in before the Metro funding dies and Phase 2 goes with it. But, by then, they will have all their housing development and we, the Loudoun Taxpayers, will get stuck with another school/road/services bill that requires higher taxes.

  • Buffacuse posted at 8:02 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Buffacuse Posts: 558

    1,265 "multi-family units" and only 235 students...seriously? Who will constitute the families in the multi-family units...aunts, uncles, close pets? C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N. If there is only one school-age child in every third unit, their "estimate" is off by a mere 78%.

    Man, the nonsense these folks sling in order to give the pro-developer toadies on the BoS the cover they need is amazing.

  • Bob_Smith posted at 11:04 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Bob_Smith Posts: 464

    Come on Glen, the 235 students is the County policy estimate for Multifamily units, it doesn't matter the size. But, then, does one size fit all? Know. What the developer could do is, besides the 900 SF (is that average, or maximum any unit?), is proffer the number of bedrooms. IF it's a 1 bedroom, high high odds are, it will be a childless professional. A 2 bedroom, there's a chance there is a kid, maybe 2. Three bedroom, yes, there will be a kid. So, that would be a better good faith way of estimating the number of kids, not the LCPS standard average for a multifamily unit.

    Bait and switch, absolutely. This time it's phasing. Wait. It will soon be more retail SF rather than office. And then, more units. It's inevitable, and once the approvals start, how can you stop, when the proffers that you want are triggered by development, you can't shut the door on them building....sigh. [sad]

  • gbay926 posted at 5:17 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    gbay926 Posts: 129

    You would not believe the misinformation (editor made me remove slang) this developer shoveled on this application. They said the residential would have few or no school-age children because of small size of units...now 250+! These students will go o Sterling Park schools, either traveling through Her Don or being bussed on Rt. 28. Next request...wait for it...more residential!

  • mas954 posted at 4:31 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    mas954 Posts: 352

    "The 1,265 units are planned to be 900 square feet each and are estimated to create approximately 235 new school children for the county."

    1200+ units and only 235 children? Did York & Higgins both hit their heads when they fell out of the truck?

    What about schools? Is the developer building the schools, or are the taxpayers on the hook for 10s of millions of BORROWED money for those? Because you know a bond will be floated - or did they think that little point could be swept under the rug?