County supervisors, so far, are backing the proposed master plan for the government support center site off Sycolin Road, but have agreed to consider two changes to the Juvenile Detention Center and proposed office buildings to address concerns of nearby residents.
During the Transportation/Land Use Committee meeting Friday, Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) brought up the idea of expanding the JDC at its existing location on Loudoun Center Place, instead of its proposed new location off Crosstrail Boulevard.
Reid proposed the idea of rearranging the third phase of the Adult Detention Center so the county did not have to spend another $16 million to build a new JDC, but the county Capital Budget Manager Daniel Csizmar said rearranging the ADC would not eliminate the need for a new jail for juvenile offenders.
“The current facility is not adequate,” he said. “The populations are mixed and there is no way to remedy that.” He said the mixing of violent and non-violent offenders has created some safety concerns for some inmates.
Reid said he would like to see the option of expanding the existing center rather than building a new facility explored further.
Reid said he wanted plans for a new warehouse and office space moved away from Kincaid Boulevard, which is next to an existing residential neighborhood, and suggested moving those uses to the site proposed for the new JDC. He said the office and warehouse uses would put “an average of 200 trucks a day” on Kincaid Boulevard, which bisects the neighborhood.
“All I can tell you is that from a land use standpoint putting the consolidated shops and warehouse off Kincaid Boulevard is wasting prime virgin land where you could put a government center,” Reid said, referring to the potential need to expand the county’s government offices in the future. “I think the space of Kincaid Boulevard is really prime for office.”
Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) noted that it would be within the board’s discretion to put limitations on truck traffic since the trucks would all be from county vendors. “If the board chose to continue with this particular plan [we could] restrict all truck traffic associated with the warehouse to come in through Cross trail Boulevard and then have to take a right out on Crosstrail.”
Reid also noted the extension of Miller Drive has been proposed to be removed from the master plan, which would give the county more development layout options. But Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) pointed out that it was only a proposal at this point and “it is not done until it is done.”
“You can’t assume that changes are going to be made or that everyone is going to say that this is what we are going to do,” she said, referring to the full board. “Staff is saying this is what is currently planned; that is what they have to do.”
The committee agreed to look at the two options for the JDC and warehouse space, but some supervisors indicated they were not likely to back any changes when it came time for final action.
Also proposed on the master plan are some new facilities at the fire-rescue training center, a women’s shelter, a transit maintenance facility, a juvenile probation residence, a mental health residential facility, and an adolescent independent living facility, among others.
The Transportation/Land Use Committee also backed the use of a 19-acre proffered site off Shreve Mill Road south of Leesburg for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office next firing range and planned Leesburg South fire-rescue station.
Supervisors took a step back from the plan in December, citing concerns that the School Board had not been formally approached about its intent to use the site for an elementary school. Originally the land had been designated for a school, but the school system’s planning staff said it would not be adequate for its needs. However, supervisors wanted to hear that directly from the School Board.
School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) sent a Jan. 8 letter confirming the school system has no plans to use the site in the future.
With that response, the committee backed the collocation of the fire-rescue station and the indoor firing range, potentially bringing to rest one of the most debated public safety facilities in the county.
The need for a new firing range for the sheriff’s office has long been known, as the current arrangement on Dulles Airport property is not sufficient to meet the agency’s growing needs. Plans for another stand-alone facility were scrapped by the previous Board of Supervisors. In a letter to the county, Maj. Eric Noble said the Shreve Mill property “has a number of attractive features” including easy access to the Dulles Greenway, collocation with the fire-rescue station, and existing landscape buffering. Also, he noted, the site is located close to the sheriff’s office headquarters in Leesburg.
The idea of building an indoor firing range on the government support center site was floated back in December—and repeated by Reid Friday—but Noble said the sheriff’s office had concerns placing the facility so close to a residential neighborhood, indoor or not.
“What we were struck by, is besides the neighborhood it is also proximate to ballfields and potential pedestrian paths,” Noble said of the government support center location. “There is a perceptual concern, if nothing else. As deputies are exiting their vehicles with rifles and shotguns, how will the public feel about that?”
He said the sheriff’s office leadership was concerned about creating worry among parents at the ballfields or residents in their neighborhood or on the paths when they see a high police presence with heavy arms. “We make safety our number one priority, but perception is always a concern. The last thing I want to do is leave people with worry that we are not going to operate safely in their neighborhood.”
Noble noted the Shreve Mill Road location is much more isolated with natural buffering the sheriff’s office can use.
Leaders in Loudoun County Fire-Rescue said the Shreve Mill site was optimal for providing service south of Leesburg.
“It fills our coverage gaps,” Deputy Chief Howard Dawley said. “It will effectively extend coverage onto Rt. 15 south. [The location] does a very effective job of citing this facility for maximum coverage.”
Reid did express concern that Shreve Mill Road would need to be paved to give the fire-rescue personnel full ingress and egress from the site. Csizmar said the paving is in the proposed in the county’s Capital Improvements Plan, but that he could not say the total cost until the CIP is presented as part of the FY14 budget.
Because he said he was concerned about how long it would take to pave the road, Reid suggested a couple other sites—Meadowbrook and Oaklawn properties among them—but Fire-Rescue Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr. said other sites had been considered.
“We’re trying to maintain a strategic advantage, especially to the south side,” he said. That is beginning to be an area that is getting to be built up…The further we are from Leesburg the less strategic we are.”
The full board will take up the proposed master plan at a future business meeting.