A lot to report on! (re: the Loudoun Comp Plan update)

The Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Committee has been on a semi-monthly schedule of meetings since March, in an effort to be prepared for the next round of Envision Loudoun workshops for resident input scheduled for the first half of June.

Find a meeting and register!

The stakeholders have worked with staff and consultants to create a vision statement for the Plan, as well as a set of overarching goals. We’ve also started working on objectives for each of the goals. You can review all of the packets that stakeholders have received during our tenure.

At its last meeting, the Board of Supervisors discussed and made some changes to the latest version of the Vision and Goals that the stakeholders provided. So far, the goals have been very generic, with utopian/idealistic language that anyone anywhere would love to apply to their community. It is important that Goals and Objectives are tailored to Loudoun and set within the specific geographic policy framework that Loudoun residents have valued and embraced. A recent news articles highlights some of the Board discussion as it relates to the Transition Policy Area: Loudoun Supervisors Split Over Comprehensive Plan Vision Statement (5/17/17 LoudounNow)

In the next round of public input, attendees will be asked to comment on the proposed draft Vision and Goals as amended by the Board. The public will also be asked to comment on growth type issues relevant to the geographic areas surrounding each of the meeting venues. So for example, redevelopment issues would be part of the discussion in Sterling, while the Transition Area would be discussed at the Dulles South location.

In the last two stakeholders meetings, we discussed the Transition Area –preceded by some informative presentations on its history including responses to questions posed by stakeholders. Unfortunately, these presentations are not currently available online. Not surprisingly, since a large number of stakeholders represent Loudoun’s traditional development interests, a lot of the discussion demonstrated industry interest in opening the Transition Area to more development. The reasoning varied, but generally the statements reflect a vastly different perspective than the values and interests that the majority of public comments expressed during the first round of input.

One major concern that I and others had upon receiving the pdf of the public comments, was that the data could not be reorganized to consider the many values that people had expressed. In response to this concern, the data is now available in an excel spreadsheet format. The Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition (PEC is a member), with the help of amazing volunteers, have since created a toolkit to make it easier for anyone to create their own search based on criteria of their own choosing.

The Coalition’s Comprehensive Plan Review Committee (I’m a member) has also submitted a letter to the Board of Supervisors to be on record opposing the idea of using the study as a basis for planning the future of housing since it is a static model and the assumptions made for that would not be sufficient for planning purposes.  

Gem Bingol, PEC