Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing | Bridge Littleton

Town of Middleburg Mayor Bridge Littleton speaks during the April 24 Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors hosted its first of two public hearings on the heavily debated Comprehensive Plan Wednesday night. More than 100 speakers addressed supervisors during the hearing, with the vast majority urging the board not to adopt the Planning Commission's proposed plan that calls for tens of thousands of new homes in Loudoun in the decades ahead.

The new plan, which will include the county’s General Plan and Countywide Transportation Plan, will serve as the county’s guide for land use and transportation through 2040.

On March 21, the board received the proposed Comprehensive Plan from the Planning Commission, leading to the first public hearing a month later. The commission's draft can be found though Loudoun.gov/Loudoun2040.

One hundred thirty-eight speakers were slated to speak on Wednesday.

“What the Planning Commission submitted is not such a plan. In fact it does you and our citizens a disservice and is anything but comprehensive,” Middleburg Mayor Bridge Littleton said. “It puts our future at risk fiscally and structurally and lacks a sustainable plan grounded in defensible data.”

Dozens more speakers focused their concerns on growth, housing, traffic and land use.

“Preservation of rural Loudoun is a low-cost, low-risk investment with high returns today and for generations to come,” Mayor Roger Vance of Hillsboro said. “An authentic, robust rural reserve within easy reach of every Loudoun community is a priceless shared asset and distinctive advantage. Positive economic impacts of a strong rural economy are compounded exponentially by the relatively minimal costs of services required—especially factored against the costs of residential development.”

The minority who showed support for the plan argued it would help with the county's lack of affordable housing.

“Loudoun’s lack of housing options for our most vulnerable families cripples their ability to thrive … By not addressing this housing affordability crisis, Loudoun is actively discouraging its own children from returning home after college, trade school or the military,” Planning Commission plan supporter Tony Howard, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, said in a recent letter to the Times-Mirror.

Broad Run High School graduate KC Repage, who also works for the Chamber of Commerce, encouraged supervisors to allow more development.

“If you don’t you’ll lose my generation of young professionals and possibly the next,” she said. “Don’t let our current LCPS students become the lost generation and lose out on coming back to Loudoun County to start their lives.”

The median home price in Loudoun County is around $500,000, something that forces many teachers, public safety professionals and those in the hospitality industry to live outside the county lines.

The county's current population is estimated at slightly more than 400,000.

The Planning Commission's proposal would add more than 26,000 new homes to the county's plan beyond the more than 30,000 units in the current county guidelines. Thousands of those residences would be added into the county's Transition Policy Area, which is meant to serve as a lightly developed buffer between the suburban and developed eastern portion of the county and the largely rural west.

Loudoun County's full housing market demand, which is based on population and employment projections, is forecast to be 60,120 additional units through 2040, according to county staff. The Planning Commission’s recommended plan calls for 56,370 units through 2040, which is just under 94 percent of the full market demand. That is approximately 26,900 units above the current Revised General Plan forecast through 2040.

The Planning Commission's document calls for approximately 7,180 additional single-family units to be located in the Suburban and Rural Policy areas and approximately 15,830 additional single-family units in the Transition Policy Area. This includes units that would be located in two areas that are currently in the Rural Policy Area but have been proposed to be reclassified as TPA.

“Growth is inevitable,” resident Cricket Bedford said. “I grew up on a farm in a farming family where everything grows—the cows, the corn, the population. But like a waste line, the county does not need to grow so big that it’s unhealthy for the overall benefit of the body as a whole.”

The board’s second and final public hearing is scheduled for April 27 at 9 a.m. at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building at 21000 Education Court in Ashburn. As of Wednesday night, 72 speakers had signed up in advance to address the board.

Comprehensive Plan Public Hearing | Meeting Room

Residents find seats ahead of an April Comprehensive Plan public hearing in Leesburg.

Members of the public can provide comments about the draft Comprehensive Plan to the Board of Supervisors by phone at 703-777-0115, email bos@loudoun.gov, or mail to Board of Supervisors, P.O. Box 7000, SE, Leesburg, Virginia 20177-7000.

Following the public hearings, the board will resume its review of the draft Loudoun 2040 Comprehensive Plan with a series of work sessions in May. 

The board is expected to consider adoption of the plan during its June 20 meeting.

Prior to the public hearing's adjournment around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, the board voted to rename the Loudoun Comprehensive Plan 2040 to 2019 Comprehensive Plan. Supervisors Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), Matthew Letourneau (R-Dulles) and Vice Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) were not present for the vote.

“When I think about all the plans and zoning things they are dated with the years they are passed—not in the future, it doesn’t make sense to not be consistent and date this the year it was passed,” Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said. “The second reason, it’s a false statement to say this is a 2040 plan. By law we should be looking at this plan every five years, and I know we went 18 years without changing it, but perhaps if we had been doing this every five years we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in right now.”

(17) comments

Loudoun4Trump

Meyers is gullible and works for the developers, not his constituents -- he is the ultimate establishment candidate...

LoudounClear

Here's an excerpt of Ron Meyer's newsletter...clear he's a vote for developers. He hides behind wanting to increase housing so the area gets rezoned (for more housing in case you're not paying attention) and then, the county will extract all these wonderful infrastructure improvements from the developer. I've lived in Loudoun long enough to know what that means: a really nice new turn lane for all the traffic coming in and out of the new development. Meyer must think we're fools. Here he is in his own words: "The problem with by-right housing is that the County receives zero infrastructure contributions, and has no significant control over design and size of units. I plan to support enough additional units to trigger rezonings. When rezonings happen, developers must contribute infrastructure payments and the County can negotiate proffers for needed road improvements. During rezonings, the County can also require that developers build unit types with higher-end building materials (no cheap vinyl), follow design standards to fit with the rural feel of the TPA, and dedicate portions of their land for County parks. The County can also require smaller single family houses, rather than townhouses or McMansions."

Do us a favor Ron, vote against more development and then use the power of your office to make good things happen for the voters of Loudoun, not the developers you hope fund your next political ambition.

More Cowbell

BOS signs off on this claiming more affordable housing. What about current new housing? Brand new apartments-$1500-3000 + $400 move in fee. Condos, townhomes, brand new selling for $600K-$1 million. Why weren't these developers held to affordable housing? Of course the flip side is you go into a 2 bedroom apartment and find 20 people living there, 5 cars parked on side street. A brand new apartment complex in Ashburn with 500 apartments, less than 500 parking spots, retail on ground level....Where are all their employees/customers park? Who allows this type of development? Or course this was a major change to this development because there wasn't suppose to be 500 apartments(and not even near a metro stop).

More Cowbell

Of course the chamber of commerce wants more homes, more businesses....This process is a joke. BOS will listen to the developers everytime, not constituents.

Loudoun4Trump

How much money did Randall's real estate planning commissioner make off these rezonings….I hear in the millions for his business...what a corrupt group of hacks....

BobOhneiserEsq

Loudoun Clear - Great comments. Young professionals need studio or one bedroom apartments not 3 bedroom condos guaranteed to generate students. Young professionals can rent an apartment or jointly rent a home. Only the state gains when lower cost multi-bedroom housing is created as they continue to withhold sales tax that should come back to Loudoun and are addicted to growing income tax. Wasn't the transition area supposed to be a "BUFFER" between the highly dense east and the rural west? Is that what the DEVELOPERS ARE DOING? NOT! THE BIG LIE IS THAT ALL THE DEVELOPERS AND THEIR EQUIPMENT AND THEIR LOBBYING POWER FROM DONATING TO CAMPAIGNS (LIKE THEY HAVE DONE FOR BOTH THE GOP AND DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR CHAIR OF THE BOS) ARE JUST GOING TO LEAVE loudoun after the transition area and the eastern part of Loudoun are completely built out. No high density residential development will be supported in the west or north of Loudoun. REALLY - check out the most recent example as Lovettsville is considering a relatively large development right now. How much of the 30 cents of the tax rate due to data centers is going to buy land to protect the rural west? NONE! The BOS gave back 4 cents of the 30 cents and then claims a WIN. How many of these exercises do we have to go through before the developers are seen for their real agenda which the planning commission is obviously supporting. When both parties are sponsored by developers and the Supervisors nominate the planning commissioners it is time to wake up the 74% of registered Loudoun voters and get them to the polls on November 5th. No matter what the current BOS do now it can be fixed in January 2020 if the majority of Loudoun shows up to vote by diligently preparing instead of voting however that sample, party sponsored ballot tells them to!

LBerish

I think Mayor Vance beautifully expressed the case for maintaining a rural region and slowing down development.. The Chamber of Commerce argument to provide affordable housing rings hollow. The developers do not deliver on that promise.

Loudoun4Trump

Again concerned, it is the BoS that approves rezonings...so there were at least 5 that went along with this....plenty of blame to go around, the bottom line, the BoS and PC represent the developers, not their constituents...it is a sad day in Loudoun that these young and inexperienced BoS members have no vision for the future of this county....and when they do have a vision -- it is affordable housing.....not that is a crying shame....

Skyprince

Here is another reason people don't trust the BOS and developers. There is a plan up in Lovettsville to build 129 houses crammed on 35 acres. The developer bought the property in 2018 knowing full well that it was zoned for commercial and light industrial uses. Now to the approval to squeeze in 129 houses they have to get the plot rezoned. This is not fair...they bought the land knowing what they could do there and now they want to put houses there. With a 129 houses, even if each house has only 2 persons, that is 458 people in a town with about 2000 citizens now! How is that fair to those who live there? And 2 persons per household is probably not realistic, but imagine what this will do to the traffic and school enrollment. The developers have a presentation on May 1 at 730pm at the Game Protective Association building on Berlin Turnpike. Make a noise and let these developers know you can bully us into submission just so you can make a buck!!

Concerned

The plan is only used to tell Regular Joes "no". When BoS members want to do their developer friends favors, it is completely ignored. The Higgins/Minchew team have re-zoned property along the JTHG so a mega gas station can be built and are seeking to re-zone property in historic Waterford "commercial", even using $42,000 of our tax dollars, to pay county fees --- all to benefit a "friend". Give enough to the PACs and the plan apparently goes away. The swamp does not need these creatures.

LoudounPulse

Thank God we have growth. Many parts of America are in decline economically because nobody is moving to the middle of nowhere. The more Loudoun grows and develops into this 21st Century economy, the better off everybody will be in the end.

BobOhneiserEsq

Loudoun Clear - WOW . Excellent comments. In the strongest sense these un-elected planning commission members are acting as the agents for the developers and the state. One group is addicted to profits as they pay pennies on the dollar for campaign donations to party sponsored candidates and the state is addicted to income tax growth. I am independent and not beholding to any developer. After 8 years on the school board I know first hand how this pro-development posture is costing every taxpayer in Loudoun 30% more than the average tax bill in Virginia EVERY YEAR. This needs to stop - NOW!!!

Charles Houston

The plan constantly refers to "accommodating growth," citing a bogus study by Lisa Sturdevant & Associates, the realtors' paid economist. That's bad enough, but what alarms me is the coordinated effort at the hearing and elsewhere to make the plan all about "affordable housing." I've never met a realtor or developer who gave a hoot about 'affordable housing," so it is just a phrase carefully designed to deflect debate from their real, avaricious scheme.

David Dickinson

1. We need slower development so the infrastructure can catch up. That will take several years yet.
2. Everything Mayor Roger Vance says is pure gold.
3. "We are running out of Loudoun to give away." Great comment LoudounClear.
4. Everyone on the Planning Commission was appointed by the BoS. That doesn't bode well for the citizens of Loudoun.
5. The most frustrating part is all the public input was a complete sham. The Planning Commission got an earful from the public about going slow, maintaining open spaces, and building infrastructure first...and then at the last minute inserted the developer plan into the Comp Plan.
6. It was called the 2040 comp plan because it was likely written by the "2030 Group." Google them and you will see who is driving Loudoun's Comp Plan

Loudoun4Trump

people are talking to a brick wall at the PC meetings....the plan they put forth is an embarrassment to the citizens of Loudoun and a goldmine for those developers that profit off the backs of Loudouners….not a bright group this go around on the commission...

LoudounClear

The pro-development crowd (a few realtors, Chamber of Commerce members, lawyers for developers, and most of the people up on the dais) wanted folks to believe that allowing more development in the transition area than is allowed there today would make housing more affordable. What utter nonsense. What they mean is the house you own today is worth a bit less everytime another one's built in Loudoun County (supply/demand) ...but that's not affordable housing. This plan has some good things in it but the giveaway to developers has to end now. We are running out of Loudoun to give away. Climate change notwithstanding, Loudoun is going to be here for a while...why don't we slow down development for a bit and let the woefully lagging quality-of-life for existing residents catch up?

Locojrt

Absolutely! If the bus is full, you wait! Get in line! People will have to wait til a house comes on the market! Accommodating the masses is really lining the oockets of the developers. One perk paid barely covers the cost of one kid in school for one year! This whole plan and the amounts of money spent on more and more studies is ludicrous! There will probabky never be "affordable" housing in Loudoun except for the apartment "projects". That may not be "PC", but it's fact! And even they are becoming such that you get 2 and 3 families in them. Our lively condos at Fox Chase are now at a 64% rental rate according to FHA, therefore do nit qualify for FHA loan. This County is going to hell in a handbasket! And some of the loudest are those that purchased within the last 3 to 5 years. It was OK for them but not now! Time for a moratorium on building! We need to catch up the infrastructure. Plus, being a "santuary" city doesn't help.

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