If Ashburn Village I and II is approved, planners estimate that the balance between residential and commercial growth will be skewed further. Even though Ashburn I and II's industrial and commercial development will generate a lot of tax revenue, the cost of demands placed on schools, fire and police protection and roads by its large residential population will produce an estimated net loss to the county over 20 years of at least $51.6 million, a staff report says.

Other residential developments waiting in the wings can be expected to continue to drain the county's tax base until the industrial and commercial space comes on line.

William A. Hazel, a heavy-equipment contractor in Northern Virginia and brother of Fairfax County zoning attorney John T. (Til) Hazel of Hazel/Peterson Cos., and John D. Stokely of Cavalier Land Development Corp. in Chantilly plan to file a request for rezoning 1,000 acres three miles south of Ashburn for residential homes. Although the density of development has not been determined, Loudoun County planner Chris Kropat said Hazel and Stokely are considering between four and 10 units per acre.

Another application for rezoning the Virginia Beef property southeast of Ashburn Village I and II for development is expected shortly.

At Partlow's General Store in Ashburn, development was the burning topic of conversation this week. The somnolent community of 1,043 people clustered in the village or scattered on the farms is divided over the benefits of growth, said Edward T. Hill, a carpenter and Baileys Crossroads native who moved to Ashburn nine years ago for its rural quiet.

"I'm sort of for it," said Hill, 37. "It's going to increase property values, and I own commercial property that's almost paid off." Hill expects to sell within three years and head west to the lush horse country around Middleburg where growth is less likely.

Mildred Hackney, now in her 70s, says she is staying put, although she shudders to see change come to Ashburn.

"I hate to see Ashburn surrounded by another subdivision," Hackney said. "But like I say, you can't stop progress. People have got to have places to work and they've got to have places to live."