Growth, Development & Traffic

The following text was pulled from an email alert sent out by PEC's Loudoun field representative Gem Bingol. To sign up for email alerts from PEC visit pecva.org/signup

loudoun comp plan hearing

Dear Supporter,

There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I want to thank everyone who took the time to write or speak directly to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors at the public hearings last week on the draft Comprehensive Plan!

Residents turned out in large numbers to share their perspectives, concerns and hopes. The vast majority took the opportunity to voice their opposition to the current draft — specifically the increased scattered residential development it would induce and the loss of the Transition Policy Area.

It was a great opportunity to hear directly from people, in their own voices, whether at the podium, via videotape or in writing. Heartfelt comments from the very young to older generations showed how strongly people feel about Loudoun’s future and what they hope will take place.

If you haven’t yet given your comments yet, please take the time to express your thoughts at an upcoming Board meeting (Tues, May 7, Thurs, May 23, Tues, June 4, and Thurs, June 20) or via email.

And please be sure to scroll down for next steps!

 

What Loudoun Residents Said

I wanted to share a few sentiments that I heard as I listened to the more than 180 who spoke or videotaped their remarks:

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“My 3rd grade brother doesn’t ride the same bus as half of the kids in the neighborhood…his school is only two years old and already has trailers outside. My 9th grade brother has been to five schools in just seven years.” ~ Avery Linn, 7th grader at Brambleton Middle School.

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“The Plan calls for an additional 28,496 housing units even though there is already approval for 45,292 units to be built. This will require an estimated 33 new schools along with countless additional roads and services. The County simply cannot afford to take on this financial burden...

The County needs to protect the Transition Policy Area, which serves as a critical buffer between the suburban east and the rural west. The TPA also provides important protections of cultural and environmental resources including much of the County’s drinking water. The proposed tripling of allowed units from 11,382 to 35,000 in the area will seriously threaten the environment and create huge financial costs for roads, services, other infrastructure, and quality of life.” ~ Eleanor Morison, Loudoun resident.

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“Make sure there are parks. There is supposed to be 0.65 miles of trails per resident or per 1,000 residents in the County I think and we’re deficient in that." ~Erik Scudder, Willowsford resident and representative for Mid Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts.

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“I’m asking you to take a look at our existing suburban areas and focus your time and attention on making those great places to live. If you’re thinking that we need new opportunity, we need new economic development, look at the places where people live now and help us…” ~ Jane Kirchner, Cascades resident.

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“On our commute along Evergreen Mills Rd, we use to see cows, goat, sheep, horses and every year, more of them disappeared.

When is it going to stop? In 2040, I will be 34 years old. I am the future generation of Loudoun County. But, is Loudoun County going to be a place where I want to live? To raise a family? Will you still be here?" ~ Mason Tomlinson, 13 year old & 8th grader at Simpson Middle School. Red Cedar resident.

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“We would love a walkable community. And I’ll tell you, in a few years, our desire for a walkable community will cause us to sell our house and move.

Prioritize current and future housing to be walkable and bikeable. And to concentrate this around the things people want to be near—businesses, social spaces, public transit, and especially Metro.” ~ James O’ Connor, Loudoun resident.

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“Our shared goal is that in 2040, citizens look back at Loudoun and remark to our legacy, ‘Wow. They got it right. Not, wow how’d they let this happen?” ~ Mayor Bridge Littleton of Middleburg.

 

What’s Next

PEC will be attending and reporting on the Board of Supervisors worksessions for you -- and posting updates to our website and social media.

The Board has 4 more meetings scheduled to review and make changes to the Comprehensive Plan document between now and June 20th, the date they want to take their final vote. They may add one or more meetings if they need more time.

Earlier this week, at their first meeting since the hearings, the Board voted on several motions regarding the Urban Planning Area, its first topic for discussion.

1) From our view, the most important vote that passed was Supervisor Umstattd’s motion to amend the Urban Policy Area vision statement to say “The Urban Policy Areas (UPA) will be the target area for much of Loudoun’s growth in the immediate future, with complete communities that accommodate living, working, shopping, learning, and playing in dense urban environments of walkable/bikeable mixed-use and transit-oriented development.”

This is an important acknowledgement that Loudoun intends to focus its growth around where the infrastructure is, and where the county will place most of its effort.

2) A separate motion about providing a range of housing for all income levels in the Urban Policy Area vision statement was withdrawn to allow more time to work on the overall issue of affordable housing. Chair Randall, Supervisor Volpe and Umstattd all expressed interest in addressing the topic.

Going forward, a key concern is how the Board will meet the desire for more affordable housing with effective new housing policies, instead of just opening the county to more growth everywhere (as we've seen in the past, simply allowing more housing won't make it more affordable).

Your continued participation is essential - calls and emails to the Board, continuing to keep your friends and neighbors informed, letters to the editor, etc., will continue the community conversation and provide our elected officials with needed feedback going forward!

Sincerely,

Gem Bingol
Loudoun Field Representative
The Piedmont Environmental Council
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