The comprehensive plan amendment to build Villages of Piedmont II at the intersection of Route 15 and Market Ridge Boulevard in the Brentsville District passed 7-1 at the Board of County Supervisors meeting Tuesday evening, as did the motion to rezone the land from a mixed-land usage of light industrial to residential.
During a public comment session, a number of residents from the Village of Piedmont expressed their approval of the proposal. They were also in favor of the rezoning, because they did not want industry to move into their adjacent neighborhood.
Village of Piedmont residents offered their appreciation of the parks and open land, which would only enhance their “serene” community, whereas the general consensus was that industrialization would diminish views and home values.
One resident said he did not realize the zoning when he moved in, but if he had he probably would not have moved to the neighborhood, as he avoided industrial areas when shopping for a home.
Moreover, Piedmont Village residents seemed enamored by the generous land allotment the developers offered for parks, open nature reserves, pedestrian and bike paths.
A representative of The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust voiced his support, stating that the open spaces will be important to all of Virginia. He listed nature trails, education, and preservation of natural habitats, allowing for scientific study, and of views and of water quality.
Moreover with the developers’ road improvements many felt it would appropriately honor Civil War veterans along the Journey Through Hollowed Ground.
Scott McDonald with RE/Max at Virginia Gateway in Gainesville gave the development his seal of approval, saying, “It is only going to enhance the values in the neighborhood of Piedmont Village.”
Supervisor Wally Covington-R of the Brentsville District praised the developers for proposing $19.6 million in proffers, $6 million “above and beyond” the county’s requirements.
“I compliment the applicant on a couple of things here, we haven’t seen this much open space, or level of support,” Covington said.
However, he voiced concerns over crowded schools and roads. Though he admitted he was somewhat consoled by the fact that the developers would build the required road right from the beginning of the project.
Supervisor Martin Nohe-R of the Coles District complimented the developers for including scenic acres “next door to regular hardworking families,” when such luxuries are usually reserved only for homes priced well over half a million dollars.
Supervisor Maureen Caddigan-R of the Potomac District was the only supervisor to vote against the two proposals.
Caddigan said it was ultimately about the schools. She noted teachers and parents have told her that schools on the western end of the county are overcrowded. Although the developers offered proffers towards school sites, she said the county would still need to build and staff those schools, which she said would be a drain on resources.
While new elementary and middle schools are currently being built nearby in the Gainesville District, Supervisor Covington said the high school boundaries should be fixed so under-capacity schools can accommodate students from overcrowded ones.
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