Envision Loudoun Stakeholders Wrap Up Comprehensive Plan Work

The Board of Supervisors-appointed panel that has worked during the past two years to revise the county’s long-term community development and transportation strategies made the final tweaks to its work Monday night.

The June 18 Envision Loudoun Stakeholders Committee meeting was its only work session to follow a round of public open houses last month when the first drafts of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan and updated Countywide Transportation Plan were held out for review. According to staff tallies, 372 people participated in the six community meetings. Also, 1,163 comments were recorded during the sessions and online—enough to fill 184 pages in a staff report.

The panel didn’t dive into the specifics of those comments, but instead ran through a series of 51 votes on final plan changes that had been proposed by the staff or by individual committee members. Those ranged from major changes—such a failed motion to abandon plans to allow urban-scale development along Rt. 7 in the areas of the Dulles Town Center, Kincora and One Loudoun—to minor ones, like showing the locations of the Dulles Airport runways on the plan’s various maps.

The 24-member panel has one meeting left. On July 9, it will hear from consultants on the fiscal and transportation impacts expected as development occurs under the plans’ policies over the next two decades. After that briefing, the draft plan will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on July 19. Then the whole project moves to the Planning Commission, which already has agreed to forego its traditional August recess to begin its review. The first formal public hearing on the plans is expected this fall.

During Monday night’s session, many members said they were hesitant to reopen debate on policies that had been hashed out repeatedly during the past year, and only a dozen proposed changes found majority support. However, the motions set the stage for the debate that will continue during the planning commission’s review. The majority of the panel voted to move forward with plans to expand areas for high-rise, urban-scale development and to expand the Transition Policy Area—even over objections voiced by the Board of Supervisors. A proposal to add a statement that the Rural Policy Area was intended to be permanently rural fell just short of majority support. And a policy was added to support vocational training for rural industries, another last-minute change made after members realized in the waning days of their work that the plan didn’t address educational opportunities.

Loudoun’s existing comprehensive plan envisions a total of 180,000 residential units at the county’s full buildout. As of 2017, the county had 133,000 built, with another 29,000 already approved. That leaves about 18,000 additional units that could be approved under current planning policies. The draft new plan would increase that cap to 33,000 over the next two decades.

Studies being developed by consultants Tishler Bise for fiscal impact, and Kimley-Horn for the transportation network, will help the Planning Commission determine whether the development policies hammered out by the stakeholders group are sustainable in the long run. The results of that work will be the final pieces of information presented to the committee before it disbands July 9.

During their final work session on the draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan, members of the Stakeholders Committee considered proposed policy changes that were displayed on walls around their meeting room.

4 thoughts on “Envision Loudoun Stakeholders Wrap Up Comprehensive Plan Work

  • 2018-06-19 at 3:33 pm

    How about planning for the Arts in Loudoun County? Performing, Visual, Literary? Please be sure to include culture as an important part of Loudoun’s thriving community.

  • 2018-06-19 at 4:43 pm

    According to the article, “[a] proposal to add a statement that the Rural Policy Area was intended to be permanently rural fell just short of majority support.” What!?? Why?
    I thought this group was supposed to carefully craft a VISION of what Loudoun County will look like in the future, and help guide policymakers accordingly.
    So, what, then, is the ‘shelf-life’ of the Rural Policy Area? If we can’t even ‘envision’ some degree of permanency to the Rural Policy Area (RPA), one really has to wonder about the long-term viability of the Transition Policy Area (TPA). As the ‘buffer’ between the Suburban Policy Area and the Rural Policy Area, will the TPA even truly exist the next time the County Plan comes up for updating and revision? Or, will the TPA, by then, have ‘morphed’ into a de-facto extension of the Suburban Policy Area?
    Fortunately, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors still have the opportunity ahead to instill confidence in the LONG-TERM viability of the TPA and the RPA, both of which are essential components of the entire plan. For the sake of preserving and protecting much of what makes Loudoun County truly great, let’s hope they do just that!
    Robert McKew

  • 2018-06-19 at 4:54 pm

    The Rural Policy Area needs to remain permanently rural, regardless of what the Envision Loudoun Stakeholders Group votes on. Allowing western Loudoun to continue on its current path of development, or worse to allow increased development through rezonings, will end out ability to provide locally produced food to a market that demands it, it will end up raising everyone’s tax burden due to the tax negative nature residential development, and finally, it will ruin the rural tourism that Loudoun has worked so hard to create.

  • 2018-06-19 at 5:57 pm

    What was the vote on the permanence of the Rural Policy Area? It’s failure is clear evidence that the entire Envision process, especially the Stakeholders, was rigged by developers.

    Get ready for the next bit of fraud. Fiscal consultants Tishler Bise will be instructed to analyze ONLY the 15,000 additional houses recommended by Envision. Its analysis will assume that the new 47,000 by-right houses (29,000 “in the pipeline” plus 18,000 that “could be approved”) are the baseline, and examine only the effects of Envision’s 15,000 more houses. In other words. NOBODY will project the taxpayer’s costs of these 47,000 “baseline” houses. It’s as if Envision has sprinkled fairy dust to make them disappear.

    Envision is a bit too slick for its own good. The County has just published the new Capital Intensity Factors (“CIFs”) which is the initial cost the County has to absorb for each new house – schools, libraries, firehouses, and so on. The average CIF is over $40,000, so these 47,000 baseline houses will cost taxpayers around $2 billion. We taxpayers have no fairy dust, so this $2 billion has to come out of our pockets.

    There are two things you can do by writing Supervisors and media. First, demand an overall fiscal study of future costs, not just of these 47,000 houses and Envision’s 15,000 more, but also of the undisclosed Metro cost burden. Second, the County is conducting a new Survey Of Residents to find out what we like and dislike about the county, about government and so forth. (Every survey since 1999 has out of control growth and traffic congestion as the two biggest complaints.) Demand that the Envision process be put on pause until the Survey of Residents is complete and studied.

    When the Board of Supervisors sees that multi-billion dollars of tax money will be spent on the two things citizens most hate, they will face two choices: Throw the Envision report in the trash and own up to having made a mistake. Voters will admire that candor. Or the second choice: Approve Envision’s nightmare and face their own nightmares in next year’s Board elections.

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