Editor: At a community meeting in Brambleton several months ago a representative of the Loudoun County Planning Commission said, “Loudoun County is a wonderful place to live, so everyone wants to live here.” But if everyone lives here, will Loudoun still be a wonderful place to live?
We are at a pivotal point in Loudoun’s history, as the county’s Comprehensive Plan is being reviewed and revised. “Envision Loudoun,” an 18-month initiative to gather public input into this effort, has just concluded its second round of workshops. Hundreds of residents produced thousands of suggestions.
Since growth recently replaced traffic as the number one concern of residents, this was a major topic of discussion. The Transition Policy Area, (TPA), in particular, with its 50-70 percent open space, seems to be caught between two key forces: 1) residents who want to preserve the green infrastructure and open areas, and 2) developers, who would prefer to use these open spaces for more building opportunities, and higher density— quarter acre lots, townhouses, apartments. There are thousands of dwelling units already approved in the TPA, and thousands have already been built.
Developers attended the last Envision Loudoun workshop in great numbers. One of their recommendations was allowing townhouses to be built west of Rt. 15, which would extend them into the Rural Policy Area. Yes, it is their job to develop open land, and they have large staffs, lawyers and unlimited funds to do so. Some in the county government agree that forests and fields are just “sitting there,” waiting for development.
How then can we as citizens preserve the TPA, its forests, streams, wildlife, our drinking water sources, family cemeteries and culturally important areas from being destroyed? How can we prevail upon the county to instead consider parks, equine areas, pedestrian and bike trails and recreational opportunities there for all county residents to enjoy? How can we prevent even more overcrowding of our schools and roads?
Be heard. Go to envision-loudoun.org/envision-the-future-online-input/, through July 12, to offer your input online. Call the Loudoun County comment line, 703-777-0115. Contact the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors at: loudoun.gov.
For a more in depth look at the challenge surrounding the Transition Policy Area, you can go to the App Store and download the free “Save Loudoun” app for your smartphone, which is sponsored by the citizens of the Transition Area Alliance.
Nancy Ryan, Don Goff, Marla McIntyre, Andrew Murphy, Melissa Rios, Erik Scudder, Aldie