Editor: For months, the Envision Loudoun process has collected citizen input on how Loudoun’s Comprehensive Plan should be re-done. However, it seems that this citizen input is being dismissed.
The Transition Policy Area is the area in central Loudoun which has always been planned to have 50 to 70 percent open space, and act as a buffer between the dense Suburban Policy Area in eastern Loudoun, and the Rural Policy Area to the west. A move to suburbanize the TPA is being supported by the majority on the Stakeholders Committee, that is steering the new plan. This is taking place, despite 89 percent of public comments which expressed a desire to keep the density in the TPA the same or reduce it. Aren’t Loudoun’s citizens also important stakeholders in Loudoun’s future?
The justification to open-up the TPA to more density as expressed by the Committee, is twofold.
- Several members of the Committee have suggested that parts of the TPA have already been suburbanized, so why not the rest? It is true that the county has allowed many rezonings to chip away at the TPA. But does this make it desirable? It is like saying “I have beaten my dog for several years, so I should be able to continue to do so”.
- Suddenly, affordable/workforce housing, which has always been needed in Loudoun, is the hue and cry from the committee and planners alike. Why now? Why has the county not insisted on this in the past? In one recent TPA rezoning request, a developer asked to double the number of dwelling units in a subdivision from 40 to 81. And how many of these approximately 40 extra homes were slated to be affordable? To quote the county staff report, “…with voluntarily providing (2) TWO, Affordable Dwelling Units, the proposed density would be”, …” twice the density envisioned “, for this subarea, “of the Transition Policy Area”. Why has a County currently so concerned with affordable housing allowed so many extra homes to be built and so few to be Affordable Dwelling Units until now? Further, where should this type of housing be built? Should it not be near the Metro, bus lines, in towns or near large employment centers?
The TPA, with Loudoun’s drinking water supply, its rich green infrastructure, and heritage assets seems to be a poor fit for this type of development. Is this just a ploy by developers to open- up the TPA to suburbanization, rather than a well thought out plan to provide for homes for our workforce where they are needed?
The chipping away of the Rural Policy Area of Loudoun may be underway as well. Two areas that were previously identified as in the RPA, are now included in the TPA on a new “working” map, produced by the Stakeholders Committee. Could this small change be adopted, and establish a precedent, opening the rural area as well to increased development?
If this is not your vision of Loudoun’s future, please call, mail or e-mail your Supervisor, or call the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors comment line at: 703-777-0115.
Nancy Ryan, Aldie