During a recent planning commission meeting, a proposed D.C. United Loudoun County facility was met with concerns about its effect on traffic in the area.
The project is proposed for Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park, which would become the site of a complex that includes a stadium for a United USL club. Along with four fields (two reserved for the team, two open to public use), the complex would include offices, a training facility, and a modular stadium with an initial capacity of 5,000 seats that could eventually expand to 5,500. Part of that proposal calls for 500 parking spaces dedicated to the stadium, plus 300 new commuter spaces and the use of an existing 672-space park and ride.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with United earlier this year, but discussions about the proposal continue. During a Loudoun County Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, one of the issues that came up was traffic. Residents of the Kincaid Forest neighborhood in Leesburg–which backs up to the complex site–have expressed concerns about the possibility of opening up Kincaid Boulevard, which is completed but closed to through traffic while work continues on another roadway, and expressed fears that parking plans for the complex are inadequate.
Ultimately, the planning commission voted to send the proposal to another meeting. While they sounded open to the idea, members of the commission agreed that some questions still need to be addressed. More from Loudoun Now:
Kincaid Forest resident Craig Lane agreed, citing a traffic study prepared for a different project in the area in 2015 that showed overloaded intersections in 2020.
“I don’t know how you have a 5,500-seat stadium and a soccer game there when half the people can’t get to it, and the half that got there probably have not found a parking space,” Lane said. “We’ve got some really serious issues here with transportation.”
The county is also pursuing a faster-than-normal process for reviewing the various zoning changes required for the project, with approval from the Board of Supervisors as soon as July or September depending on Planning Commission action. Commissioners Jeff Salmon (Dulles) and Eugene Scheel (Catoctin) expressed concern that they were presented with a recommendation to approve the application before a proffer agreement between D.C. United and the county had been worked out.
“It might not sound like it, but I’m very excited about this project,” Salmon said. “I think it’s a great idea for the county, but our job up here is planning and making sure it’s planned correctly.”
United is seeking to launch the USL team in time for the Division II league’s 2019 season. As part of the plan, Loudoun County would lease the land to D.C. United and provide $15 million in financing on the $23-million facility, which would be paid back by United.
Image courtesy D.C. United.
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