The developers of a proposed shopping mall in eastern Loudoun County have been sent back to the drawing boards by Virginia and county officials who say that the roads planned around the mall would be inadequate.
The developers' proposal to build a million-dollar road to the proposed Cameron Glen shopping mall, just south of Rte. 7 and east of Rte. 28, was rejected by the Loudoun County Planning Commission last week. Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation officials this week echoed their dissatisfaction with the plan.
"I don't see how anyone can look at this and think they have got an adequate transportation plan to go with this rezoning application," said Richard Harrison, a state transportation planning engineer.
"Everyone is willing to donate right-of-way for these roads," Harrison said, "but nobody talks about the construction of the roadways."
Unlike the situation in Prince William County, where county officials have the requisite highway improvements but no mall, four developers are vying for the right to build a shopping mall in eastern Loudoun.
"With 10,000 new homes already scheduled to be built in eastern Loudoun in the next decade, this is an ideal site for a shopping mall," said Joseph Trocino, Cameron Glen's attorney in Leesburg.
"It is far enough out not to have to compete with Fair Oaks Mall at Rte. 50 and I-66 and Tysons Corner, while being accessible to Reston and Herndon residents via the Dulles Toll Road and Rte. 7," Trocino said.
The Cameron Glen proposal is to build a 600,000 square-foot regional mall just east of the intersection of Rte. 28 and Rte. 7, about 10 miles north of Dulles International Airport.
The shopping center would be small compared to the 1.5 million square feet of retail space at Tysons Corner. Cameron Glen representatives say they do not know what major retailers might locate there or how many shops the mall would house.
Despite the developers' confidence in eastern Loudoun, county officials remain somewhat skeptical.
The County Board of Supervisors has stated its concern repeatedly that the network of two-lane state roads in Loudoun will be unable to accommodate traffic generated by a mall.
Last winter the board asked the four companies to develop road improvement plans as part of their shopping mall rezoning applications. Only the Cameron Glen developers to date have made a roads offer.
The county planning commission will meet with representatives from two of the three other shopping mall developers, Montouri Associates and the Lerner Corp., Tuesday night to discuss their rezoning applications.
Montouri Associates, a group of Loudoun businessmen, has proposed another mall at the intersection of Rte. 28 and Church Road, closer to Dulles, and has made a tentative offer of a limited road improvement plan. It expects to have completed road plans next week, a spokesman said.
Theodore N. Lerner, the Washington developer who built the Tysons Corner and White Flint malls, has proposed a mall at the intersection of Rte. 7 and Rte. 28 but has not offered any road improvements on that plan.
Three years ago the county won a long battle with the Lerner Corp. when the Virginia Supreme Court upheld the county's 1975 rejection of a Lerner proposal to build a 1.1 million square foot shopping center at the same site.
The fourth company, a group of Loudoun businessmen and landowners known as Camp Luckett Inc., is working on its road plan and will meet later with the county officials. It also wants to build at Church Road and Rte. 28.
The county planning commission said last week that Cameron Glen's offer will not go far enough to handle the expected traffic.
The panel told the developers to come back in two weeks with an alternative road plan, one that could end up costing the development company much more.
Cameron Glen developers have proposed building a two-lane road running south from the shopping center to Sterling Road (Rte. 637) just north of Church Road (Rte. 625). The developers said they would donate enough land so that the county could expand the road to four lanes later.
The planning commission has asked instead that Cameron Glen build a road running due west from the shopping mall to an intersection with Rte. 28, under the assumption that Rte. 28 will be expanded to four lanes earlier than any other roads in eastern Loudoun and be better able to absorb the additional traffic.
Cameron Glen representatives say they are unhappy with the prospect of making such an offer. "It is going to be more expensive because we do not own the right-of-way," said Neil Brennan, chief engineer for the Sunrise Development Co. of Cleveland, the company developing Cameron Glen. "Our engineers are looking at it and we will meet with county staff next week to discuss it."
If Cameron Glen representatives and the planning panel can not come to terms on the road plan within the next two weeks, Cameron Glen said they would give the county a 60-day extension. The county has been working with the Cameron Glen proposal for more than a year and must reach a decision on both the shopping mall and Cameron Glen's proposed 5,191 home subdivision development by Oct. 1.