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Loudoun County could see 18,000 new homes in transition area under revised plan

Members of Loudoun County’s Comprehensive Plan Stakeholders Committee do not support the current version of the county’s Transition Policy Area (TPA), which limits development in the area of the county that serves as a buffer between development in the eastern part of the county and the more rural western areas of Loudoun.

County staff briefed the committee on future development projections in the TPA as stakeholders made their positions more clear this week.

Earlier this month, county staff presented the stakeholder team with two “scenarios” -- keeping the county’s current Transition Policy Area land-use plan in the proposed new Comprehensive Plan, which includes limits on retail and single-family homes. The current plan allows a maximum of just 11,306 units. The second scenario, supported by committee members, broke away from the current plan and supported a different scenario, which committee members said would expand employment, increase density in some areas and develop more walkable neighborhood centers.

A majority of stakeholders argued that developing the area would help Loudoun meet future growth demands, particularly for housing diversity and affordability.

Over the last two weeks, staff put together a compilation of feedback they received from stakeholders on their views on residential density, where future development should be concentrated within the TPA, and what types of open space requirements should be adopted.

Staff presented a new draft development estimate based on feedback from stakeholders.

Under the new staff projections, the TPA area could hold 12,076 residential units in the lower Foley area east of Northstar Boulevard and along the Braddock Road corridor.

The committee’s recommendations would increase the total number of single-family homes in the transition area to 18,323 units concentrated in several different areas including upper Foley and upper Broad Run.

John Merrithew, a program manager with the Department of Planning and Zoning, explained the differences between the current plan and the plan developed by the stakeholder’s committee. “Scenario two had greater impacts in terms of transportation and capital costs, but it does meet the residential demand question,” he said. “It does give us a potential for greater affordability in terms of housing, and it does retain and protect the environmental and open space areas.”

The committee’s recommendations also projected additional industrial development south of the Greenway in lower Sycolin, in addition to 30.8 million square feet of industrial space and about 1.12 million square feet of retail use.

In addition, the committee’s feedback would result in 36.72 million more square feet of industrial space in the TPA area.

Both proposals recommended retaining 50 to 70 percent of open space in development projects.

Some stakeholders expressed concern over the projections. Gem Bingol, a stakeholder representing the Piedmont Environmental Council, said that more focus was needed to address concerns around housing in the suburban policy area before the committee set their sights on the TPA.

Directing her comments at staff, Bingol noted that stakeholders were not considering current density projections in the TPA. “I thought that that all of the information and analysis that you provided for us for the transition policy area is great. I would say that it really makes it clear that we are sort of jumping over my opinion. So much of our discussion has been ‘we need to put affordable housing here and we need to grow there,’ as opposed to understanding how much growth we’re already sort of planning for in the suburban area,” Bingol said.

In addition, Bingol said the projections for the area presented by staff appeared to be a “direct contradiction” to what the public envisioned for the TPA.

The committee also cast votes Monday night on a number of questions staff compiled based on feedback from stakeholders provided at the group’s previous meeting.

When asked if stakeholders would support a “wider range of housing types” in the TPA, including encouraging smaller units to help meet the county’s affordable housing needs, a majority of the stakeholders said they would. Only one member said no.

A majority of stakeholders also supported designating the lower Bull Run and upper Foley and upper Broad Run areas as areas to place small units, single family homes and townhomes, with a limit of four units per acre with a minimum of 50 percent of open space in each development.

The stakeholders also overwhelmingly said they would support taking an area along Evergreen Mills Road designated as a rural policy area to become part of the TPA and have land in that area designated for small lot, clustered single-family homes with limited retail to provide employment opportunities in the area.

The stakeholders committee will meet again Oct 16 to discuss a new draft map for the TPA and suburban policy area.


Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @SydneyKashiwagi.

Comments


I think this is overdevelopment crosses Party lines…time for a slowing of development.


Matt Letourneau blew this idea up with a big bomb at the BoS meeting tonight. 4 other supervisors spoke on the subject after Matt but did not need to.


The actions of this “stakeholder” committee are specious at best, fraudulent at worst. The make up of the committee is primarily developers, real estate professionals, and other business men and women who stand to benefit from bringing more commerce more residential development to Loudoun County. To even discuss the further erosion of the Transition Policy Area is in direct opposition to the expressed will of the residents. The purpose of the TPA, as stated in the current Comprehensive Plan, is as a buffer between the eastern more developed and commercial part of he County, and the rural Western Loudoun County. The fact that any development has been allowed in the TPA does not justify more in the future. Two wrongs don’t make it right. Projected housing requirements are a self-perpetuating conclusion: yes if more commerce and housing come to western Loudoun and the TPA, more people will move to those places. But the goal, as made abundantly clear during the Envision Loudoun public input sessions, should be to do what the current residents want: keep the TPA as it is and stop development in Western Loudoun. Development, both economic and residential, is not a fait accompli as the planners and stakeholders want you to believe! This is an outright misrepresentation! Now is the time to influence the plannes to NOT further develop our beautiful County; to preserve its historic, rural culture; to facilitate agricultural tourism businesses and equine businesses and farming businesses that belong, and currently thrive, in the county. Now is NOT the time to trust the planners and stakeholders to do what is right for the residents of this County; they only have their own interests in mind.


With the General Assembly taking away the limited ability of Loudoun County to negotiate with developers for such things as setting aside areas for schools and developer funding of needed roads, the plan will mean that current homeowners will pay higher taxes to cover needed infrastructure.


If the student generation figures have been deliberately understated (which until we start seeing audits of completed communities should be the assumption) then these high density residential developments will put the LCPS population well over 100,000 students, $1.5 billion school budget per year plus another $300 million per year of new school construction and renovations. The state gets lots of sales tax and new income tax due to this growth while restricting what Loudoun gets due to the composite index so what property tax rate will we see as a permanent liability?
Bob O__ Esq.


Mopar19, doesn’t Randy Minchew represent Harris Teeter?  Not sure what his cozy relationships are like with other BOS members, but it is well known he lobbies Geary Higgins, feeding him legal theory.  In my mind, that is part of the problem—-  the developers and their lawyers/PR teams.


Anyone notice in the Envision update Buddy Rizer from the Loudoun Economic Development calls public comment,  public outcry and a threat! Nice!


Why even bother to have a planning & zoning in Loudoun? Developers decide.


“Stakeholder” = “Developer”?


30 million sq feet of more one level warehouse office parks, and 1 million sq feet of strip malls bookended by a harris teeter and a movie theater.  Exactly how do they plan on shoe horning affordable housing between million dollar single family homes to the west and 600k + townhouses to the east?  What employment opportunities do these developers think will come to this area besides the temporary construction jobs?  This has to be least logical plan ever put forward.  I am sure the county will jump right on board with the developers and sign off on all these changes.


“...opportunity for greater affordability…”

that means as the quality of life in Loudoun deteriorates and the value of your home here falls…prices for homes will drop and voila!  greater affordability.

Please let’s not let this happen and vote out any and everyone who’s promoting the idea.


We need to meet “growth demands.?”  No, we don’t.  It’s the job of the BoS to manage growth demands and determine the future rate of growth in the county.  If the BoS doesn’t certify the demand, it doesn’t legally exist.  So, really, there are no demands that have to be met in the transition area—we set those demands to begin with.

So, BoS, reject the “work” of this faux committee and deal with requests one at a time like you should.  Do you job properly and there should be no need to build there.


Do all elected officials work for developers?


That’s right. No real infrastructure in place but adding more homes, residents and traffic chaos. Brilliant! Just brilliant!


Developer greed! This entire effort is rigged by homebuilders and realtors.


The transition area should be renamed the “Future Development Area”


Let’s see the names of these moron “stakeholders” so we can ask them face to face…who is going to pay to educate the kids of these new households…who is going to put up with all the traffic. Let’s see who these lamebrains are!


Sound good.  Build them along Evergreen Mills Road, as it’s a major county thoroughfare.


LOL…shocking.

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