The consultants helping the county rewrite its comprehensive plan have released a report on public feedback during the second series of workshops around the county. In their assessment, most participants agree with the work so far.
The consulting team gathered almost 2,000 responses from people at workshops and online, including asking for comment on the current draft statements of vision, goals, and objectives for the new comprehensive plan.
They counted 13 percent of respondents who were supportive of those statements. However, 18 percent said they opposed them.
In the middle, another 32 percent said were supportive, but with changes. The largest piece—36 percent of responses—did not directly critique the draft policies, an inaction interpreted at positive by the planning teams.
The draft vision statement for the comprehensive plan reads: “Loudoun County continues to flourish as a prosperous and inclusive community with a well-deserved reputation for great places, natural and built as well as historic and new, in a variety of settings. The County will foster economic innovation, fiscal strength, and sustainability.”
It is accompanied by a two-page document outlining in broad terms the directions the county will grow under the new plan, and represents a reorganization of the comprehensive plan from a long list of guidelines and zoning—which will still be present—to a more conceptual document broken up into five areas. Those include “shape,” encouraging a range of housing, employment, and recreation; “compete,” relating to economic development; “connect,” addressing transportation; “sustain,” dealing in natural and historic resources; and “support,” or quality of life.
Among those people who were opposed, the most common criticisms were that the drafts so far should be more measurable and more specific to Loudoun and its identity, less subjective, and more attuned to specific areas in the county—particularly the rural west.
By contrast, people in favor of the work said it was broad enough to cover the diversity in the county, comprehensive, and headed in the right direction.
Sixty-nine percent of the comments offered either substantive or specific changes to the draft so far, or focused on ideas or topics that respondents would like to see addressed in the new comprehensive plan.
After reviewing the responses, the consulting team recommended no changes to the draft policies.
“The majority of participants either supported the vision, goals and objectives as they are, or provided feedback that will be used throughout the planning process,” stated Planning and Zoning Director Ricky Barker. “So while we are not modifying the vision, goals and objectives at this point, we will determine if these public comments have been addressed in other parts of the plan, or if they will need to be addressed by modifying the vision, goals and objectives during a later stage of the project.”
The consulting team will now sort the comments into 13 topics areas: economic development strategy; green infrastructure; growth management; housing; infrastructure and utility planning; public facility plans; quality development; revitalization and redevelopment; the ongoing Silver Line comprehensive plan amendment; the rural, suburban, and transition policy areas; and transportation.
That report will be one of the things included in an update to the Board of Supervisors due in September.
This fall, Envision Loudoun will enter the fourth of five phases, working through the input collected in the first two stages of public workshops. The stakeholders committee will draft the components of a new comprehensive plan, which will be presented at public workshops in 2018. The plan must also pass review of the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.