Loudoun planners consider plans for mixed-use development

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If approved, Silver District West would include 3,706 houses and 970,200 square feet for nonresidential uses.

The Loudoun County Planning Commission is continuing to review plans for Silver District West, a proposed mixed-use development in an area between the Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn Metro stations.

If approved, the 158-acre development would add 3,706 town houses and multifamily houses and would have up to 970,200 square feet devoted to  nonresidential uses, including an elementary school site. The plan comes from Detroit-based Soave Enterprises.

“The old comprehensive plan was almost 100 percent office campus environment with limited ancillary services,” says land-use attorney Colleen Gillis, a partner of Cooley LLP in Reston. “Our client thinks this is a better way to monetize the investment in Metro. We want to create an environment that millennials and empty nesters and office workers will want.”

At an Oct. 24 meeting the commission voted to continue reviewing the proposal. Gillis says work sessions with the commission are planned and that “public hearings will hopefully be held early next year. Hopefully there’ll be a vote in the first half of 2018.”

Several residents attending the October meeting voiced concerns that the proposed changes would substantially increase traffic and reduce quality of life in Ashburn. Complaints were also posted on an online forum.

“Adding 3,000 homes (which means adding 5,600 more cars) to squeeze into an area already with terrible traffic congestion makes no sense at all,” Terri Davis posted.

Ramanan Ramadoss posted that the plan “will further strain the roads and cause huge bottlenecks to all of Ashburn traffic. These modified plans are negatively impacting our day-to-day life.”

But Gillis says that when the two new Silver Line Metro stations open — in  2020,  according to the current schedule — “it will be a release valve for the [Dulles] Greenway” traffic.

“I think what people are not necessarily fully cognizant of yet is what a transformational experience it will be once the Metro is there,” Gillis says. “You pay a premium for Metro because you want Metro. People will live here because they want to utilize the Metro. We hope it will allow Loudoun County to compete for jobs that rely on the millennial workforce.”

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