School Location Matters

This text was taken from an email alert sent out on May 21st, 2013:

School Siting in Loudoun — the Public Should Have a Say


Building a new school, like any major construction project, requires a lot of thought and planning. And with that planning comes the need to address the concerns citizens in the nearby area might have about its impacts — traffic, noise and lights, just to name a few.

Which is why it’s concerning to hear that Loudoun County is considering changes to the Zoning Ordinance that would allow public schools to be built ‘By-Right’, pretty much anywhere — removing the public’s ability to give input.

Why It Matters

Loudoun County is constructing between 3-7 new schools each year and depending on the type of school (i.e. Elementary, Middle, or High School), they could range from 875 students to 2,000 + students in size. As a result, the impacts on adjoining and nearby properties can be significant with respect to traffic, noise, lights, storm water run-off, natural and cultural resource impacts, etc.

For about 20 years, schools in Loudoun County have been categorized as ‘Special Exception uses’ in the Zoning Ordinance. This means any time a new school is proposed to be built, the County has to have two public hearings — one before the Planning Commission and one before the Board of Supervisors — giving the public an opportunity to express any concerns about the project.

This newly proposed change to the Zoning Ordinance would make schools ‘By-Right uses’ instead of ‘Special Exception uses’ — meaning as a taxpayer, you will lose your voice regarding the location of a proposed school in your neighborhood.

Weigh In At The Community Meeting

Loudoun County Zoning Administration staff will hold a meeting to brief the public and to receive comments on the initial draft of proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance. Comments received about the proposed amendments will be used to draft regulations that will be forwarded to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Community Meeting in Leesburg
Wednesday, May 29th from 6-8pm
Board Room, 1st Floor
Loudoun County Government Center
1 Harrison Street, S.E., Leesburg

If you cannot attend the meeting, I encourage you to send an email to the staff at or by leaving a voice mail at 703-777-0411.

Following the meeting next Wednesday, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will schedule public hearings on the matter. These meeting dates have yet to be announced, but I will let you know when they have. If you have any questions before next week, don’t hesitate to contact me.


Gem Bingol
Loudoun County Land Use Officer
The Piedmont Environmental Council

Received this from a friend? Sign up to receive alerts and news from PEC.