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Loudoun supervisors, stakeholders spar over new Comprehensive Plan process

More than a year into the million-dollar public process to compose Loudoun’s new Comprehensive Plan, the Board of Supervisors and the 26-member stakeholder group helping craft the plan appear to have differing views on the direction Envision Loudoun should be going in.

Stakeholders and county staff helping to guide both parties in their planning efforts have asked supervisors to let them take the lead and trust the process will play out organically.

But supervisors last week were eager to reign in the planning process and assert control over Envision Loudoun.

“The board needs to trust the process just as much as we do,” said stakeholders and Planning Commission Vice Chairwoman Kathy Blackburn at a recent stakeholders meeting. “I know they’re getting quite involved, and I wish they wouldn’t. The public gave their input, and they are sitting back waiting patiently for us to process, and I would ask the Board of Supervisors to sit back and wait until we’re done because it just makes it so much harder.”

“For the public record, I’d say, please, Board of Supervisors, stay in your lane,” Blackburn continued.

Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) was quick to counter Blackburn about the board’s role in Envision Loudoun after finding out about her comments.

“We didn’t create a process that just, in my view, turned a bunch of folks that we got to volunteer for this to do as they please,” Higgins said at a recent board meeting. “They’re supposed to be working in the direction that we desire.”

Over the last several months, supervisors and stakeholders have sparred over recommendations dealing with the county’s transition policy area (TPA), a part of the county where many residents have opposed any efforts to further develop.

In September, the stakeholders group recommended the county could add anywhere between 12,000 to 18,000 more residential units in Loudoun’s TPA.

Some have expressed frustration over the stakeholder group’s inability to follow the guidance the Board of Supervisors provided to stay clear of the TPA.

“What happened? Because obviously that discussion was not communicated at some level to the stakeholders committee,” Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) said. “I hear what we are saying, I don’t think we want to micromanage the stakeholders committee, but it’s still up to the policy-making body to have parameters of what the discussion is.”

County staff has had to remind stakeholders and supervisors, sometimes confused by who exactly is leading the process, of what their role in Envision Loudoun is.

Others have worried that if the board did not get the stakeholders on track, when stakeholders present their recommendations for the new plan to the board, they will have gone in a completely different direction than what the board envisioned, wasting taxpayer money in the process.

“We’re putting hours of our top staff people’s time at these meetings thinking about these issues,” Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) said. “And when stakeholders clearly go off a beaten path that clearly is not going to work at the Board of Supervisors level, and you have to get five votes to pass this document -- it’s just frustrating for me from a taxpayer’s perspective.”

The Envision Loudoun planning process has held numerous public input meetings around the county over the last year and received more than 1,000 public input comments as a result. Before the final plan is adopted, the county’s Planning Commission and supervisors will still need to sign off on the stakeholder's recommendations. The final Comprehensive Plan is slated to be adopted sometime next year.

At the stakeholder’s next meeting Nov. 20, they plan to finalize recommendations in the county transition policy area.


Comments


The entire Envision Loudoun process is an obvious sham.  The public’s opinion is going to be disregarded in favor of developer interests every single time.

I don’t know who decided this “stakeholders” thing as a good idea but that group should be immediately disbanded.  My guess is that everyone in that group already has (or represents someone with) undue influence on local politics.  They shouldn’t be given more.


The Majority of the BOS and Loudoun County Government is a wholly operation of the developers.  The word conservation, except to protect horse farms is unspoken.  Until the FBI comes our here like it did in the mid 2000’s and send the political and development rats scurrying, it is build baby build.


Tax revenue from a new house does not come close to covering the increased cost of services required.  Taxes for current residents get raised to cover the difference.

New schools are needed, further increasing tax load.

Adequate roads never get built in Loudoun, so more residents adds to traffic delays, accidents, and fatalities.

We do not need 18,000 more new particle board and plastic sided “homes”.  Imagine what these fake “town centers” will look like to 20-50 years….

The new homes will be no more “affordable” than current inventory.  That’s just the current developer’s PR campaign.


Goodsamaritan.  Your reasoning that by building more houses will reduce the cost is flawed.  The cost of land is what drives houseing costs.  So your wish of affordable housing isn’t happening here in loudoun.  Maybe move to dc or out of loudoun and you might find some subsidized public housing with utilities included and a 15 dollar min wage.    People who struggle to afford to live in loudoun have a simple solution move to where it is cheaper to live and where you make more money.  People have been doing that for centuries it’s not a new idea.  The idea that all the traffic in ashburn is from commuters from the west is another joke.  Seems to be the logic of a developer.  Meanwhile your against the building of data canters which actually pay their workers enough to live in loudoun right now and help fund all of your subsidies my tax dollars go to.


@more cowbell “Why stop at 18000 new homes, lets just build 100K new homes so prices can drop even more and more traffic.”

That is what I call stupid reasoning. Traffic is already there on Loudon roads because people are commuting from West far east into the county. More the vehicles and longer they stay on the roads higher the traffic problems. if they can afford to live in the county close to work, thr traffic problems will ease.

Second, lot of people who can’t afford a home of their own are living in shared houses/apartments. it is not uncommon to see more than one family share a house/apt. These people are already in the county and on our roads, this is not new traffic.   

Opponents of more housing have only one selfish agenda in mind, choke off new home supply to ensure continued housing scarcity thereby increasing their home values. BOS needs to see through this and approve more homes.


Opponents of 18000 homes = ‘I am GREEDY. I want to artificially keep my home price high by choking the supply of more homes. Its all about raising the price of my home even if others have to struggle to afford a modest shelter. I will give stupid excuses why we should not build more houses that can’t stand to intelligent reasoning.  “


Stakeholder = “makes money in some way off development or increases in population” 

Try to find someone on the list of stakeholders who isn’t on some level earning more money if we increase the number of homes being built or increase the population of people in Loudoun.  Tougher question: Try to identify someone on the list who’s primary interest is improving the quality of life of the many thousands of us already living here.


This one links directly to the article on the data center just outside of the Town of Leesburg. That land is currently zoned to have houses.  Houses can be built there, right now.  The data center wants to take houses away, and have a data center that is on the cutting edge of environmental concerns.  And, of course, no houses.  So what do we see, from a group that is part of the stakeholders - the PEC and the preservationist community?  We see that group also fighting for more houses in the transition area of the County.  So, it is not just the developer community that wants tens of thousands of houses in the transition area, and more throughout the County; now we have the PEC and the preservation community demanding the same thing.


Yeah, right….Stakeholders are looking out for us.
Why stop at 18000 new homes, lets just build 100K new homes so prices can drop even more and more traffic. And 70% of public input was filed in the trash. This group will side with developers since they’ll put money in their pockets…..


“We need those 18000 homes in TPA and more”

Care to explain why “we” NEED those?


I trust 26 stakeholders more than the 9 members of BOS. The stakeholders have no political aspirations as they are not elected. They know the woes of the common citizens in the county and are doing a good job with their recommendations for more housing in TPA to ease the major housing crisis that BOS is not showing any urgency to address.

We need those 18000 homes in TPA and more. Loudoun housing affordability is more serious problem than transportation and education.


This is like a food fight at the family Thanksgiving day dinner. BoS upset with those that were handpicked by the same BoS. Hilarious!


Stakeholder = developer

The stakes are the huge profits to be made by building on open land.


The government is exasperated that the government is screwing up.

Join the crowd.


The stakeholders are free to present a self-serving plan that puts ever more development into Loudoun.  A BOS with a spine would say “thank your for your perspective” and then ignore the add-more-development recommendations. 

It’s not that hard though admittedly the spine part is going to be a new thing…

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