Your Task: How Do We Make Loudoun Better?

Those leading the effort to write a new comprehensive plan to guide Loudoun’s future development welcomed a full house as they began a round of “listening sessions” Monday night in Lansdowne.

The meeting room at the National Conference Center was set up to accommodate 150 people and each table was full for the kickoff of an extensive public outreach effort.

img_5330-copy       Dubbed Envision Loudoun, the effort to update the current General Plan, last revised in 2001, is expected to take 18 months to complete.

“We are happy that you are here at the beginning of this journey,” said C. Gregory Dale, cofounder of the McBride Dale Clarion consulting firm hired to lead the process.

On Monday, that work started with one question: What do we need to do to make Loudoun County an even better community in the future?

To begin answering that question, participating residents tossed around their ideas in discussions that were monitored and documented by a county planner and a member of the Board of Supervisors-appointed stakeholders committee that is spearheading the early work.

The comments were familiar and broad-based. Among them were the need for better planning for schools to make attendance zone boundary lines better; for better planning for bike lanes and community trails; to make it more affordable to stay in Loudoun in retirement; to build more museums and cultural attractions; and to promote redevelopment of older eastern Loudoun communities.

Loudoun County Director of Transportation and Capital Services Joe Kroboth listens in on a table discussion during Monday’s Envision Loudoun forum. The need for road improvements was a big part of the evening's conversations.  [Norman K. Styer/Loudoun Now]
Loudoun County Director of Transportation and Capital Services Joe Kroboth listens in on a table discussion during Monday’s Envision Loudoun forum. The need for road improvements was a big part of the evening’s conversations.
[Norman K. Styer/Loudoun Now]
       The future of the county’s Transition Policy Area will be a big part of the discussion as the new plan develops and it was on Monday. The transition zone is an area of south Loudoun that is planned for lower density development as a buffer between land planned suburban development and the county’s rural zone. Landowners in the area are hoping the new policies will allow them to develop at higher densities like other nearby properties. Other area residents raised concerns about the traffic and schools impacts more development could bring.

All the ideas will be documented in detail and included in a database the will be a key resource for the planning team going forward.

Three similar workshops are planned next week as part of this round of public outreach. On Monday, there will be a forum at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, at 45020 Aviation Dr. at Dulles Airport. A Leesburg-area meeting will be held Tuesday at the Clarion Inn Historic Leesburg, 15000 E. Market St. The listening sessions wrap up Wednesday at Lunsford Middle School, 26020 Ticonderoga Road.

More information can be found at envision-loudoun.org.

 

One thought on “Your Task: How Do We Make Loudoun Better?

  • 2016-11-08 at 12:10 pm
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    Note that land zoning is effectively a claim on another user’s property. Originally, there were no zoning restrictions in Loudoun. But folks wanted to protect their own interests and restrict what their neighbors could lawfully do with their property.

    Now that the gentry class has established horse “farms” out in western Loudoun and are inclined to protecting their pastoral views while reaping massive federal subsidies for “farming” (nobody honestly believes many of these are farms, but Hillary and the establishment keeps the money train going for their friends), they want to prevent their less affluent neighbors from reaping profit on their land. This results in many harms:

    1. Less affluent landowners are unable to capture the true value of their land by selling it for residential development or using it for pubs.

    2. The price of land and homes is kept artificially high. This blocks out anyone seeking affordable housing, including law enforcement/firefighters/teachers, in Loudoun. This also creates effective racial and SES segregation in Loudoun since many minority communities are less affluent.

    3. This leads to complete corruption of our political system. Instead of an open market for land use, developers need to convince the BOS to rezone just their land for higher density. Make no mistake. The developers DO NOT WANT all land opened up for building as that would destroy the value of their own land. Instead, they want to be able to buy land cheaply (when restrictively zoned), play political games to get it rezoned resulting in massive upward revaluation, and then build/sell it off.

    The goal should be to utilize Loudoun’s land to keep home prices from rising any further. There is no reason, other than artificial restriction on land use, why housing prices rose so much so far from DC. But since politicians and the politically connected alike have reason to maintain the status quo, do we really expect change? Or maybe those gentlemen farmers like Bruce Smart will get their way as they keep funneling taxpayer handouts for their own personal use.

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