Leesburg Business Panel Opens Input Sessions

The Leesburg Town Council-appointed Economic Development Steering Committee last week opened the fact-finding phase of its effort to identify policy changes that could help business growth in Leesburg.

The panel, chaired by Planning Commissioner Sharon Babbin, is tasked with making a final report to the Town Council in October. It is meeting each Wednesday through the summer and is inviting representatives from specific business sectors to participate in panel discussions.

Last week, it was downtown property owners. The panel included Joanna Coston, Michael O’Connor, Peter Burnett, and Don Knutson. The group gave a generally favorable report on their experiences and the growing opportunities in the historic district. Key challenges they identified were the needs to increase parking and to allow more residential development downtown.

This week, the committee was scheduled to meet with a panel of developers.

The only controversy during last week’s meeting was the committee’s vote to make comments on the recently proposed expansions of the town’s H-1 and H-2 historic districts. Councilman Marty Martinez, one of two council members participating in the steering committee’s work, said the panel had no authority to weigh in on the historic district policies. However, the committee voted unanimously to proceed with sending a formal response to the Town Council, agreeing that the proposed changes would impact economic development in town. A vote on the statement was expected at the July 19 meeting.

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