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.
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.
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.