2018, June 21 HOA Updates, Kingsbridge

2018/06/21 Kingsbridge HOA

The Kingsbridge HOA annual meeting on June 22 included Warner Brook as an agenda item. After listening to a briefing about the mixed use concept and its potential benefits and impacts, many questions and comments from Kingsbridge residents were discussed.

Are developers behind Warner Brook?

An initial question asked if the Warners and/or Jim Herbert were developers, and whether a developer was behind the concept. The answer is No. Then the question was asked whether the Warners and/or Jim Herbert would make money if the project was approved. The answer is Yes. Landowners make money when they sell their land, and broker/advisors make money if they assist such transactions.  An unasked but underlying question is whether the land would be worth more in the future after concept approval than it is today. Yes, getting land approved for higher uses increases the market value of the land, especially if the uses are consistent with a community’s character and they benefit its citizens.

The family’s plan now is that developers would get involved after an approved concept is in place following annexation, rezoning, and site plan approval. At that future time land bays would be sold to developers, probably multiple developers for each use respectively, one for sportsplex, one for light industrial, one for mixed commercial, and one for residential.

Scott Warner summarized the family position. They want to work in partnership with the Town to put into place something that would bring meaningful progress to Purcellville, by adding amenities and conveniences to its citizens, by generating economic development drivers for retailers and for small businesses of Purcellville, and by contributing fiscal sustainability to the Town finances. The family wants their town to have a say in how the land is developed, and the family wants their town to benefit as much as possible from such development. Without annexation, the town loses the ability to shape and control what happens on Warner Brook.

Does Warner Brook fit with the comprehensive plan?

Warner Brook is not currently within the Town of Purcellville, which is the reason for submitting the annexation application.  Warner Brook is in the jurisdiction of Loudoun County on the edges of the Town of Purcellville. It is zoned JLMA. It is on the County comprehensive plan as Joint Land Management Area. JLMA property is recognized as holding strategic potential for incorporated township growth through annexation. JLMA indicates that the County and the Town will together discuss any planned annexation of JLMA parcels. From this zoning and planning aspect Warner Brook plans are consistent with Loudoun County comprehensive plan intentions.

Within the Town adjoining Warner Brook, the Town Comprehensive Plan 2018 Townwide Land Use Plan Map  draft version 6.7.2018 shows a mix of the same uses proposed for Warner Brook. These include Industrial Business on Hirst Rd and on 611 at Nichols, Richardson, and Shepardstown, opposite Warner Brook; Residential on 611 throughout Mayfair, opposite Warner Brook; Mixed Use Neighborhood Scale on Hirst Rd, south of Rt. 7 Bypass from Warner Brook; and Parks and Open Space on Hirst Road along Catoctin Creek, a use planned for 44 acres of Warner Brook. From this aspect, Warner Brook after annexation would be consistent with the Town of Purcellville comprehensive plan intentions.

Traffic on Hirst Rd. at 287 and at 690 is already bad

Other questions were asked about traffic impact on Hirst Road, noting the problems being experienced today at 690 and especially at 287. Warner Brook is a slow growth project that would not have any traffic impact for approximately four years. Today’s Hirst Road interchange problems will not be made better or worse by Warner Brook anytime soon. The overall projected impact from Warner Brook would not be realized until the project is fully developed, seven or eight (or more) years from now.

The County FY19 budget includes funding to study the 287 intersection with Hirst Road to determine improvements that need to be made. Beginning after July 1, 2018 the County will address this existing problem and will likely make mitigating improvements before Warner Brook would have any impact.  At 690, VDOT plans to begin construction of a fully functional interchange in 2022 and it might take three years to complete. That would be slightly before Warner Brook full impacts would be in effect. The 690 interchange would allow some traffic to use Mayfair Crown Drive to access Warner Brook without using Hirst Rd. at all.

Another question asked if there couldn’t be a third Rt. 7 Bypass interchange built at 611 Purcellville Road, at Warner Brook. We are not aware if any future VDOT plans or funding ($40 million or more) for a 611 interchange with Rt. 7 Bypass.

Traffic is indeed a major issue to address during rezoning, where projected impacts, the future timing of projected impacts, and mitigations from currently planned traffic improvements are all considered together.

What about sportsplex parking for tournaments and events?

Approximately 9 acres is planned for the sportsplex building site, with 22 acres adjoining for outdoor fields. Roughly 2.7 acres of the 9 acres would be used for the building, and the balance would be planned to include adequate parking to serve the indoor and outdoor facilities.

Where would Warner Brook residents’ children go to school?

A question was raised about where Warner Brook resident children would go to school. Currently, without changes by the County, the school pyramid for Warner Brook would be Mountain View ES, Harmony MS, Woodgrove HS.

What about expenses to the Town budget from Warner Brook development?

A question was raised about expenses that would be incumbent to the Town from Warner Brook development. The R.C. Lesser fiscal impact study was closely coordinated with Town Staff to identify and quantify all possible expenses and net them out of recurring revenues. Without Staff being able to identify significant expenses, R.C. Lesser took a conservative approach by using a figure for highest possible expenses factored by the Town’s actual expense to revenue ratio, and then applying that ratio to Warner Brook annual recurring revenues. The resulting number reduces $1.44 million annual recurring revenues down to $962 thousand net incremental annual recurring income. Further to expenses, the fiscal impact study projects one time fees income to the Town of $10.9 million. If that money was applied to reduce bond debt principle, annual debt service expenses would be reduced by $600 thousand annually. Warner Brook fiscal impact to the Town on an annual recurring basis could be the sum of incremental income plus expense reductions, or $1.56 million to the Town bottom line annually.

Overall comments from Kingsbridge citizens

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us directly.

The sportsplex would be a convenience to residents who otherwise drive their kids long distances to practices and games.

Visitors to the sportsplex would bring economic development benefits to Purcellville businesses.

Mixed commercial retail at Warner Brook would reduce southbound traffic on 611 and Hatcher for trips onto Main Street for basic conveniences.

Purcellville could use more retail, especially for things we can’t get here in town.

The location of Warner Brook is clearly a strategic opportunity for Purcellville growth and progress.

Purcellville should take advantage of Warner Brook and gain the benefits, rather than the County.

Traffic needs to be addressed before final approval.

Planned uses at Warner Brook would be very fitting with the overall character and feel of Purcellville.

Industrial small businesses should go in Warner Brook.

We moved to Purcellville for its small town community. The family sports and recreation planned for Warner Brook fit with this community.

The added commercial tax base and fiscal impact will help the Town keep our private citizen taxes and utility rates low.

2018, May 24 HOA Updates, Main Street Village

During the May 24 meeting of the Main Street Village HOA, Purcellville residents reacted to the Warner Brook concept plan with questions and comments.

Initial questions about traffic were addressed, noting that Warner Brook traffic impact would take place in a slow growth manner after years of annexation, rezoning, site plan approval preceded construction, and construction would take place in phases over a few more years. Looking at Warner Brook traffic impact as an eight year project would be slow growth, coordinated with the Town, the County, and with VDOT.  Hirst Rd. improvements at 690 Hillsboro Rd and at 270 Berlin Turnpike will be under way or completed by the time Warner Brook has any impact.

It was appreciated that Warner Brook would build upon Purcellville’s sports related complexion anchored around Fireman’s Field, and would bring even more beneficial sports tourism and related visitor based economic development to the town. It was also noted that small businesses in light industrial uses would have more real estate ownership opportunities in Purcellville at Warner Brook.

The aspect of Warner Brook fiscal impact to the Town’s budget was discussed. Warner Brook is slow growth, and it cannot come online fast enough to meet the financial pressures from no-growth policies that will force the Council to significantly raise water and sewer rates by 56% over the next five years.

The family was complimented for making the effort to participate in the HOA meetings of residents, for plainly stating the case for Warner Brook, for addressing questions and concerns directly, and for putting up a website with information for reference.

2018, May 3 HOA Updates, Further Comments

Following recent in-depth discussions at HOA meetings, follow-on questions have been asked about traffic on Hirst Rd. and the implementation of the planned VDOT Hillsboro Rd. interchange, and about municipal water supply.

Warner Brook annexation, rezoning, and site plan approval would have to be completed before any construction, and construction would then take a year before even the first phase of Warner Brook would become open. This means that Warner Brook first phase opening could be consistent with the Hillsboro Rd. 690 interchange construction, which would allow access to Warner Brook from the 690 interchange on Mayfair Crown Dr. without using Hirst Rd. Also, County FY19 budget includes study for the necessary improvements to the Hirst Rd. intersection with Berlin Turnpike. These improvements are expected to be completed before any elements of Warner Brook open.

Warner Brook traffic planning and phasing absolutely needs to be coordinated during rezoning with Purcellville, the County, and with VDOT.

Another question was raised about water, and whether Purcellville had enough water supply to furnish Warner Brook after all phases were complete in the future. This is a negotiation that would be necessary to have with Purcellville during rezoning, much like the one that would be necessary regarding sewage pumping. Whether or not the developer needs to build and maintain a well and a pumping station for the Town of Purcellville remains to be negotiated.

Positive comments were offered about the sportsplex providing travel convenience to residents for sports practices, sports events, and for community events. The positive economic development impacts , like at Fireman’s Field, were also recognized. Small business light industrial sites for Purcellville business owners were noted as a benefit for the town.

2018, 04/25 WarnerBrook.info launched

Handing out printed materials to a few dozen HOA meeting participants has generated a question from those people, “What about the rest of our residents, can we email them material attachments?”

It made more sense to launch a website, so that the rest of the residents can be alerted by a simple email with the website address link, and all Warner Brook information is just a click away.

Accordingly, www.WarnerBrook.info is available now to provide full information with accuracy and with transparency, including direct access to studies, reports, and comments.

So, send your own email to your fellow citizens of Purcellville, and give them the link to WarnerBrook.info. Since Warner Brook would impact all citizens, then all citizens should know about it.

2018, 04/24 HOA Updates, Village Case

Last night the Village Case HOA board hosted a Warner Brook briefing. After a short introduction about the mixed use plans for Warner Brook, a ninety minute small group discussion ensued. Many questions were asked from the standpoint of devil’s advocacy, many suggestions were brought up, and we deeply appreciate the time and interest that participants gave this agenda item.

Questions about traffic focused on the primary impact roadways that are accesses by Rt. 7 Bypass east-west travel. Additional questions were raised about sportsplex tournaments that may draw visitors from the north and the south, and how those visitors would travel. Hillsboro Road and Berlin Turnpike would be the northern access roadways. Both will be undergoing capital improvements at their interchanges with Rt. 7 Bypass, and with Hirst, between now and 2024. From the south, Rt. 15 would likely be the access route, which would bring visitors up to Leesburg, and then the Rt. 7 Bypass.

A question was raised about whether or not Warner Brook roadways would be privately maintained or would they be public VDOT roads. The intention now is for private roads, unless VDOT makes future demand specifications that would force public status.

A question was raised about the feasibility of a sportsplex in Purcellville, considering that One Loudoun withdrew plans for a sportsplex there. How could Purcellville get a sportsplex if One Loudoun could not? Warner Brook would be privately ventured, and privately operated, unlike the concept at One Loudoun. At One Loudoun the developer offered to construct the medium sized indoor sportsplex in exchange for being allowed to construct more residential development, then hand over the building to the County to manage, maintain, and operate. The County wasn’t excited by taking on those burdens. “Loudoun County is always open to exploring creative partnerships for public facilities, but many of us on the board believed this indoor sports complex was something best handled by the private sector,” said Supervisor Ron Meyer, R-Broad Run. Warner Brook would be developed and operated commercially by the private sector, on land whose cost basis makes a sportsplex economically feasible compared to One Loudoun land.

A suggestion was made to be flexible in the mixed commercial retail center in case a hotel wanted to locate there because of the sportsplex tournament opportunities. That would be up to the ultimate retail center developer and the Town planning process in the final phase of Warner Brook five or more years from now.

Many other valuable and reasonable thoughts and suggestions were discussed, making the time highly valuable.

The Family remains open to all such discussions, and looks forward to further meetings with the HOAs of Purcellville.