The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday to send to voter referendum three more items--two swimming pools and a park.
At its previous meeting, the board postponed adding those items to the ballot because of concerns that cost estimates for the pools had increased. Since then, county officials scaled down the proposals for those projects and reduced the costs.
The board's action yesterday adds one question to the November ballot, asking voters' approval to issue $7.6 million in debt for the two pools--one in eastern Loudoun, one in western Loudoun--along with a ballfield complex in Leesburg. The pools would be next to county schools and would be open for public use.
The board's action brings to a total of about $133 million the amount of debt that the county will ask voters to approve to finance construction of schools and other public facilities.
Ailing Hospital to Receive Loan
Inova Health Systems has agreed to lend financially troubled Loudoun Healthcare Inc. $5 million for the next six months, using the old hospital campus on Cornwall Street in Leesburg as collateral.
Loudoun Healthcare officials said the deal was made final on Monday. Woodrow Turner, a lawyer for Loudoun Healthcare, said $1.8 million of the money will be used to help pay off a $2.6 million loan from NationsBank. The rest will be used for Loudoun Hospital Center's operating costs.
"It's a bridge loan to get us to the point where our turnaround efforts have kicked in," Turner said.
Earlier this month, hospital officials disclosed a $20 million deficit over the last two years, citing cuts in reimbursements from managed care organizations and the unexpectedly high costs of running two campuses, including the new hospital at Lansdowne. They said they intend, through cost-cutting and restructuring, to maintain an independent community hospital rather than be forced to sell.
Inova is among the health care chains seeking a foothold in the Loudoun market.
Freeze Voted on 'Rural Villages'
Loudoun County supervisors voted unanimously yesterday to get rid of a development option that was designed to preserve open space but that some say encouraged too much construction.
Supervisors imposed a moratorium on new zoning approvals for "rural villages," houses clustered close together on big parcels of rural land. The moratorium applies everywhere except in an area along the western portion of the Dulles Greenway and a section of Dulles South.
The rural village concept, approved by the previous Board of Supervisors, was to group houses and businesses on one part of a property and preserve open space on the rest. The villages can be approved only on parcels of at least 300 acres on which zoning originally allowed one house on every three acres.
But supervisors have grown concerned that the villages are encouraging too much development. As an incentive for developers to preserve open space, the rural village zoning designation allows more houses than would have been allowed under the original zoning.
County Gets Money-Saving News
Loudoun County's bond rating has been upgraded by Moody's Investors Service, and county officials said this week that the change will save Loudoun as much as $10 million.
Moody's raised the county's rating to Aa1, one step below its top Aaa rating. Although Moody's said the county's rapid growth rate "will challenge county officials," the service praised Loudoun's planning and a strong local economy.
Over time, the step will save taxpayers $5 million to $10 million in costs to borrow money to finance the county's capital improvements program, said County Administrator Kirby M. Bowers.
Office Development Approved
Loudoun supervisors yesterday approved an office and retail development north of Route 50 and west of Route 606.
The board agreed to rezone 156 acres from a light industry and residential designation to allow development of as much as 1 million square feet of retail office and hotel uses.
The property will be developed by Hazout SA, of Washington. Some board members argued that the development was premature, while others said it was an appropriate use of the land.