Loudoun Supervisors Approve Zoning Changes for Stadium
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Loudoun County supervisors approved zoning changes Tuesday that would allow a 5,500-seat minor league baseball stadium and a mixed-use office and retail complex to be built at routes 28 and 7. But the board's approval came with at least 50 conditions, addressing, among other things, environmental impact, open space requirements and road improvements.
"I say we get this done, bring baseball and move on, because the decision point is now," Supervisor Lori L. Waters (R-Broad Run) said before the Board of Supervisors' 6 to 2 vote to permit the zoning changes, clearing the way for much of the planned Kincora Village.
The Kincora application, which asked the county to reclassify 314 acres zoned for high-end office space, has been "fully vetted," Waters said.
VIP Baseball, a group operated by Waterford businessman Robert Farren, reached a deal last month with the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs to bring a team to Loudoun. Since then, the Kincora project has received wide support from the baseball community, including former professional athletes and Little League teams. The stadium is slated to be completed by May 2011.
Groups such as the Piedmont Environmental Council have opposed the Kincora project, however, citing concerns about its impact on traffic and the environment, including streams and wildlife.
Kincora's owner, NA Dulles Real Estate Investor, agreed to provide transportation upgrades, including the construction of a four-lane divided section of Pacific Boulevard. The project would preserve a minimum of six acres of open space, conserve trees and build pedestrian walkways. Games would start no earlier than 7 p.m. on weekdays, excluding federal holidays. The stadium also would be available for use by schools and organizations when it was not being used by its owners for games or other events.
Burton said the 50 conditions linked to the proposal's approval showed that the application had gone through many changes since its first public hearing last month. "The application that is before us for a vote today is not the application that went before us in a public hearing," he said.
Burton tried unsuccessfully to postpone the vote on Kincora and asked the board to hold another public hearing.
But John C. McGranahan Jr., an attorney representing Kincora's owner, opposed that idea.
"The whole point of this was to get the decision by the summer so we could begin work on this stadium," McGranahan said. "We had submitted conditions back in April. These conditions didn't just appear on Friday."
Board Chairman Scott K. York (I) noted that the public has had adequate opportunity to comment on the plan.
"We did have the public hearing and since the public hearing, we've had three input sessions before this board," he said.
But McGimsey, whose district is closest to the Kincora site, said the project would create more traffic along Route 28.
"The road infrastructure is inadequate in the Kincora area," she said. "This stadium will cause backups on Route 28."
McGimsey said constituents have sent her numerous e-mails expressing concerns about Kincora's impact on roads.
The majority of the board might support the proposal, she said. "However, I am not convinced that you have gained the support of citizens in my district who will be directly impacted."
The board will decide in October on a special exception request to reclassify the rest of the Kincora proposal. That includes 1,400 apartments and condominium units, a YMCA, a performing arts center, hotels, a nature preserve and a fire and rescue station.