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Loudoun County Planning Department Releases Report on Route 28

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By Derek Kravitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Route 28 corridor suffers from an "image and prestige problem" because of a lack of large-scale office, entertainment, cultural and retail development, according to a Loudoun County report that focuses on the complaints of dozens of landowners and homeowners associations.

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The 33-page report, presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday by the county's Planning Department, was especially critical of the county's land-use planning for the area, with respondents saying it is "disorganized" and "inconsistent" and has "multiple personalities."

One respondent referred to Route 28 as the "back yard for the Ashburn and Sterling communities." Another said it was "suffering from a lack of identity." Many said the chief culprit was the county's 1972 zoning requirements, which place restrictions on mixed-use, residential and high-density development in much of the corridor.

The respondents, a group of nearly three dozen landowners, developers, homeowners association members and public and private agency representatives, were unnamed in the report so that they could speak frankly to county staff members, said Michael Salinas, who handles community outreach programs for the Planning Department.

Among the improvements requested in the report:

-- An "attractive gateway" at the southern end of the corridor, near the Dulles Toll Road.

-- Premier, larger-scale office space with retail development next to Route 28.

-- Efforts to keep low-rise industrial development away from Route 28 and toward Dulles International Airport.

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