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.
Looking west over the Transition Policy Area.
Time flies! It’s been about a month since the public hearings on the 2019 Loudoun Comprehensive Plan, and it’s time for another quick update.
Since our last email alert, the Board of Supervisors has had two more work sessions to review the draft 2019 Comp Plan.
What’s happened recently:
As the paper reported, the second Board work session focused on the Suburban Policy Area (SPA) and the Board dug into some issues important to residents–how much growth will take place, what kind (residential and commercial) and where.
At their third meeting, the Board focused on the Transition Policy Area (TPA). They asked lots of questions, but did not reveal their positions or offer motions. Decisions related to the Transition Policy Area portion of the plan are expected on May 29.
County Staff Offer Two Potential Scenarios for Transition Area
In their report released last Friday, County Staff outlined two different paths the Board could pursue:
1) Move ~900 acres of land from the Rural Policy Area into the Transition Policy Area in order to respond to requests for upzoning by various landowners. And increase the overall TPA buildout by 3,060 units.
- This would set up death-by-a-thousand-cuts for the rural area, encouraging other landowners adjoining the TPA or Leesburg to lobby for an upzoning.
2) Maintain the boundaries of the Transition Policy Area and increase the TPA build-out by 1,900 units.
- This option would more closely reflect Loudoun residents’ input in the Comp Plan process and stands in stark contrast to the Planning Commission recommendation to add upwards of 17,500 units.
- It would match the Board’s promise at the outset–to leave the rural area alone.
- It would avoid dumping more residential on the outskirts of Leesburg.
The Board will ultimately decide whether to pursue one of these two options, or to do something else altogether.
What’s missing from what the county staff presented is a third option, the one that the vast majority of residents requested: leaving the TPA “as is,” with no increase in units beyond the additional ~5,000 already allowed under current zoning.
Will the Board keep its pledge to leave the rural area intact and stay the course for a smarter development pattern? Will it honor the community’s vision for smarter, more transit-oriented growth going forward, instead of inducing more sprawl?
It’s taken 20 years to get to the point where our growth could get on a more sustainable track and the County could once again prioritize existing residents’ needs.
The Transition Policy Area should be the line in the sand.
The timeline going forward
Following its May 29 meeting, the Board of Supervisors will tackle any additional Transition Policy Area actions as well as the Rural Policy Area and Chapter 3 (Natural Resources, Heritage Resources and Sustainability) on Saturday, June 1 and then review all remaining chapters on Wednesday, June 5.
All of which is leading up to a vote on the whole Comp Plan on June 20.
Thank you so much for continuing to stay informed and weigh in! As always, let me know if you have any questions I can help with.
Loudoun Field Representative
The Piedmont Environmental Council