Members of the Leesburg Planning Commission decided last week to hold off on a large-scale, comprehensive review of the Town Plan.
Commissioners have typically launched a review of the town’s comprehensive plan every five years or so to comply with State Code. But an opinion by Deputy Town Attorney Shelby Caputo, presented to the commission at its July 6 meeting, said that, since changes and amendments to the plan have been made since its last full review in 2012, it can be viewed as a living document. Many of these amendments have been brought forward by town staff or members of the development community.
As commissioners debated whether to take Caputo’s advice, it was noted that the Planning and Zoning Department is dealing with a heavy workload, with three projects in particular that deal with aspects of the Town Plan—the East Market Street small area plan; the review of the economic development section of the Town Plan by the Economic Development Review Steering Committee; and a study on the possible extension of the Dulles Greenway from its terminus at the Leesburg Bypass to Harrison Street or Catoctin Circle. On the latter, while Town Council members have been largely against the extension of the Greenway that was envisioned in the Town Plan, it was recommended that a study of the link be conducted to study the impacts of foregoing, or proceeding, with its eventual construction. That study is being funded out of proffer money from the Crescent Parke development.
Some commissioners did identify particular parts of the Town Plan that are out of date and may need some fine-tuning, such as the transportation map. Director of Planning and Zoning Susan Berry-Hill recommended that commissioners individually take time to go over the Town Plan and see if its outlined vision and goals are still relevant, or need some fine-tuning. She particularly recommended that commissioners look for trends they have been seeing in planning and development throughout town and in the greater county.
Commissioners ultimately decided to go forward with Berry-Hill’s recommendation and will decide early in the New Year to possibly plan some work sessions on Town Plan updates. Commissioner JoAnn Walker was absent for the July 6 meeting.