By Olivia Ausnehmer
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors decided following a July 13 public hearing to delay a decision on an application to build 41 townhouses on Mountain View Drive until its Sept. 6 meeting.
The 6.33-acre property is located on the north side of Mountain View Drive, west of Poland Road and south of Savoy Woods Court. The developer is required to provide six units as price-controlled Affordable Dwelling Units.
Today that property includes a vacant single-family home and garden center.
Both those in favor of the residential units and those against attended the public hearing to share their thoughts on the proposal. Many in favor of the proposal cited the need for affordable housing in Loudoun County, while most of those against the proposal cited the large flooding problem in the neighborhood. The majority of the speakers against the proposal mentioned that they currently live just outside of the property being discussed.
Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) was in favor of an extension of the final vote.
“We heard two very different viewpoints tonight about whether this is complementary,” he said.
“Our concerns remain around four key topics; density, public safety, traffic and water management,” said Jason McWhirter, one of the many Mountain View Drive residents opposed to the development.
“Our community would like to ensure before you approve any development in this location, this time directly in our community, that any water solution in that development will not further worsen or continue to do further damage from water. Our community has been reviewed on-site by the Loudoun Water management chief, which he verified great cause for concern,” McWhirter said.
“My side yard is useless and my backyard is useless when it rains. I’ll have four to five inches of standing water, it just doesn’t go anywhere,” said Steven Bagley, another Mountain View Drive resident.
“If we are going to put in another community, let’s do it correctly. Let’s make sure it fits,” Bagley added. “Just because they are able to be built, doesn’t mean they are gonna fit the neighborhood.”
Vinod Palle, a Fairfax County resident who works in Loudoun County expressed his struggles wanting to live in the county he works in. “With the cost of living, my buying power has come down and I’m looking for affordable housing,” Palle said.
Babu Romerij runs a small business and has trouble finding employees because he claims no one can afford housing. “If you can support this plan, that would be really helpful for a small business like us,” Romerij said.
Supervisors voted unanimously to send the application to their Sept. 6 meeting for a decision.
Supervisors asked the developer to agree to a watershed study that will establish the water impact of the proposed development on the neighborhood, and a fence across the north side of the proposed property. They also asked county staff members to determine whether surrounding property values would be impacted, determine the effects on traffic as a result of the proposed development, and prepare a summary of the current flooding issues.
“Whether or not we say yes or no to this, the flooding that is happening now seems to be an issue. Shouldn’t we be dealing with that right now?” County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said.
Olivia Ausnehmer is a rising junior at Penn State interning at Loudoun Now.