Loudoun Comprehensive Plan update nears June 20 vote

Loudoun’s Comprehensive Plan draft has been finalized for a June 20 vote, and it’s time for a quick PEC update.

What’s left?

The last work session on Saturday, June 15 was a wrap-up of chapters that had not yet been covered including Chapter 1–Introduction, Chapter 5–Economic Development, Chapter 7–Implementation, and the Countywide Transportation Plan.

What’s been decided?

The biggest burning question has been, “How much growth will the Board support in the Transition Policy Area?” followed by “Where?” and “How Much?”

Related to that has been the question, “Will the Board keep the Rural Policy Area intact or not?”

Thanks to intense community involvement by residents in the Transition Policy Area (TPA) and across the County, the Board has backed off of the Planning Commission’s (PC) vision for the future of the TPA. Instead of the ~24,000 additional units that were included in the PC draft, it now appears that the maximum additional units would not exceed ~4200 units. This total does not subtract out land that would not be developed due to streets and sidewalks, and other public infrastructure.

The Planning Commission recommended moving three rural land bays into the TPA. Unfortunately, the Board voted to do so for the two located near Leesburg. We were glad, however, to see the Board chose to keep the rural land bay near the central part of the TPA as rural.

With the two rural land bays next to Leesburg having been converted to transition area densities, over half of the overall increase in residential units in the TPA will come from these two formerly rural areas. On a brighter note, the Board has constrained growth within these land bays to those areas that are closest to existing infrastructure.

The placement and impact of future data centers has also been a positive outcome of the Board’s focus to date. In the TPA, data centers have been limited to just those areas where they already exist, north and east of the Greenway and Sycolin Rd. In the Suburban Policy Area (SPA), data center design and location have also been considered in coming up with appropriate guidelines.

A new land use place type that excludes data centers and residential growth was created in order to accommodate commercial and industrial uses that could be priced out of the county. Language was included for action steps the County would need to take if a Transfer of Development Rights program is considered in the future.

After the Board takes its final vote we’ll be working with our partners to provide a comprehensive summary of the changes and potential impacts on residents, resource protections and conservation.

Looking to the somewhat more distant future, the next big steps will be updates to the zoning ordinance and the housing policy analysis before any rezonings per the Comp Plan changes are approved.  

PEC’s Loudoun blog covering the comprehensive plan update process >>