It’s been 18 months since the official start of the Loudoun Comprehensive Plan review and it’s been an interesting journey. Hopefully you were able to read my blog post from this past November, or caught the incredible editorial by the Loudoun Times Mirror in December: Current comprehensive plan draft would sacrifice our quality of life.
Read below for some important upcoming community meeting dates and opportunities to take action!
The Comprehensive Plan review started back in 2016 with the formation of a Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Committee, which was tasked with gathering public input and working with County staff and consultants to guide the initial draft of the plan. The committee majority (I was part of the minority…) consistently maneuvered to increase the amount of growth being planned in Loudoun. They were particularly focused on adding more housing in the Transition Policy Area (the approximately 22,000 acres located in between the Suburban and Rural Policy Areas).
This push for growth came despite the majority of public input calling for no increase beyond levels that are currently planned.The Board of Supervisors let the committee know their push should be scaled back, and eventually it was (Loudoun Times, Supervisors push back against recommendation for more housing in transition policy area).
By the fall of 2018, there was a draft Plan before the Planning Commission for review. Despite the pushback from Loudoun residents and the Board of Supervisors itself, the Planning Commission brought the discussion back around to how to accommodate more and more residential growth. The county hired consultants to do a fiscal impact analysis that is due to be returned to the County in February 2019.
Where things stand:
More than 50 people attended our community meeting in Waterford on February 13.
Throughout this process, PEC has agreed with the majority of the public comment collected: There is a better path forward for Loudoun, and it doesn’t involve huge increases in growth. We’ve been working with a group of local non-profits, citizen groups and individuals to inform residents on the issues, encourage public participation and suggest alternatives that are more fiscally prudent, while also meeting public needs for facilities and services that have been delayed.
We’re getting ready to hold a series of community meetings to talk about our findings and recommendations. We will also discuss how residents can get involved as the draft moves through the public process.
Interested in knowing more? Or want to set up a meeting? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-347-2334 x. 7041.
Upcoming dates of interest:
- March 21, 2019 — Board of Supervisors Business Meeting: Presentation of Planning Commission recommendation
- April 24 & 27, 2019 — Board of Supervisors Public Hearing dates
- July 2019 — Board takes a final vote on the adoption of the plan
PEC is offering a presentation and discussion of the draft Comprehensive Plan at a number of meetings hosted by different groups and communities.
- Feb 8 — Ashby Ponds. 10:00am. Address: 21170 Ashby Ponds Boulevard, Ashburn, VA 20147. Note: parking is limited so please consider carpooling.
- Feb 12 — Unitarian Universalist Church. 6:30-8:30pm. Address: 20460 Gleedsville Rd, Leesburg, VA 20175. Note: parking is limited so please consider carpooling.
- Feb 13 — Waterford Old School. 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsored by Waterford Foundation, Waterford Citizens, Taylorstown Community Association, Lincoln Community League and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground. Address: 40222 Fairfax St, Waterford, VA 20197.
- Feb 19 — Carver Center. 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsored by the Town of Purcellville, Mayor Kwasi Fraser, and Town of Hamilton, Mayor David Simpson. Address: 200 E Willie Palmer Way, Purcellville, VA 20132.
- Feb 22 — River Creek Club. 6:30-8:30pm. Address: 43800 Olympic Blvd, Leesburg, VA 20176.
- Feb 27 — Loudoun Museum. 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsored by the Town of Leesburg, Mayor Kelly Burk. Address: 16 Loudoun St SW, Leesburg, VA 20175. This meeting was rescheduled from Feb. 20 due to snow.
- Feb 28 — Cascades Senior Center. 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Address: 21060 Whitfield Place, Sterling, VA.
- March 6 — Sterling Library. 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsored by the Sterling Foundation and Save Old Sterling. Address: 22330 S Sterling Blvd A117, Sterling, VA 20164.
- March 19 — Gum Springs Library. 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsored by The Piedmont Environmental Council. Address: 24600 Millstream Dr., Stone Ridge, VA 20105.
- March 25 — Sycolin Creek Elementary School. 6:30-8:30pm. Address: 21100 Evergreen Mills Rd, Leesburg, VA 20175.
- March 27 — Middleburg Community Center. 6:30-8:30pm. Sponsored by Mayor Bridge Littleton and the Middleburg Town Council. Address: 300 W Washington St., Middleburg, VA 20117.
Loudoun’s Growth by the Numbers:
Here are a few numbers pertaining to Loudoun’s growth story.
- Exploding Population – Since 2000, Loudoun’s population has increased by 5.1% annually, while Fairfax and the DC Metro region is growing at a rate of 1.5% annually.
- Growth Exceeded Tax Base – During that time there was an almost 10% annual budget increase. To keep taxes down, needed facilities and services were delayed.
- Additional Residential Development Already Baked In – 48,000 new homes are already zoned or approved. If built, this would amount to an additional 134,000+ people over the next 25 years.
- Traffic Congestion – The number of registered cars in Loudoun has increased almost as much as its population. More than 50% of Loudoun residents commute out of Loudoun.
- Schools – Loudoun will need 10 new schools for the growth already expected. Land acquisition for new schools is difficult and the cost for school construction is trending upward.
- Parks and Open Space – There is a deficit of open/park space, with over 2,030 acres needed for schools, libraries and parks by the year 2030. The additional growth called for in the draft 2040 Plan would require an additional 2,068 acres of land for schools, libraries, parks beyond what is already needed.
As always, thanks for reading!
Loudoun Field Representative
The Piedmont Environmental Council