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Campaign for Loudoun's Future: Promoting Sensible Limits on Future Growth
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The One Loudoun Proposal

Position paper on One Loudoun's Smart Growth Alliance Jury
by the Coalition for Smarter Growth

NOTE: On January 16, 2007, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors approved One Loudoun. The proposal includes 1,000 new houses.

What is the One Loudoun development I keep hearing about?
A “World Trade Center” is being promoted to the public by a developer.   In February 2005, the developer filed a formal application with the county for a zoning change, to switch the land parcel from commercial zoning to a mix of houses and commercial uses.  The site is at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Route 7 in Ashburn and just west of Sterling.

The developer promises 14,000 jobs, 3 million square feet of office space, 600,000 square feet of retail, on 360 acres, plus the addition of 1,500 houses not currently zoned there.  Note that our community was promised over 30,000 jobs at WorldCom, and now only a few thousand people work at that facility in Ashburn.

Development of the business park/commercial uses -- which could bring the 14,000 promised jobs on the site -- can go forward without the rezoning request.

The developer must ask for a zoning change only to build the 1,500 new houses on the site.  In other words, we do not need to accept 1,500 new houses in order to allow for construction of new commercial space or to get new retail and amenities.

Adding 1,500 new houses on Route 7 only adds to our existing traffic problems in the Ashburn and Sterling communities and the many schools we already need to build.

The supporting retail and service uses that contribute to a viable office park are available with the existing zoning. Included in the proffers now in effect for 266 acres of the site is a hotel with conference center facilities and service retail uses.  The nearby residential neighborhoods also have retail shopping centers associated with them, including Belmont with plans to build soon, Lansdowne now beginning to build, and Ashburn Village with more retail yet to be constructed, in addition to what is on the ground now.

How is the developer planning to build this site out?

"Phasing" for new developments refers to the timing of construction for the various parts of the plan, such as houses, retail, office space, road improvements, etc. One frequent problem with phasing in Loudoun County is that new developments are built starting with the houses first -- and too often the road improvements and other amenities are last.

Phasing plans change often, but as of November 2006, this is the plan for Phase I (of 3) for One Loudoun:

  • Build up to 943 new houses
  • May have up to 17,000 sq ft day care "uses"
  • Prior to "commencement of Phase II", must have zoning permits for at least 1 million square feet of commercial. This includes retail and hotel space. There must be at least 300,000 square feet of office space and at least 350,000 square feet of retail space.

The Phase I retail space is larger than the retail space approved in most of Ashburn's planned residential communities. The applicant is asking for a total of 702,000 square feet of retail. In comparison, the Dulles Town Center has 743,000 square feet of retail currently built.

In other words, the almost 1,000 new houses could be built first with the commercial/office space not required until Phase II is ready to start. Also, because market forces fluctuate over time, the commercial/office space is frequently flipped to be residential in the years following a development's approval.

An example of this is the Ashbrook development of retail and houses, where Harris Teeter is, in front of Ashburn Village. The initial zoning was for all office space with some supportive retail and restaurants.

Learn more about the One Loudoun proposal on the developer website, which also includes a site plan.