With Loudoun County two years into an effort to update its comprehensive plan, Leesburg may be set to follow suit.
Leesburg’s Planning Commission has begun to discuss the process for updates to the Town Plan. The wheels for a Town Plan update were set in motion earlier in the year when the town staff recommended that the Town Council hire an outside consultant to update the transportation portion of the plan. This followed council’s request from a January 2017 retreat to create a 20-year transportation master plan. A staff report from January of this year noted that nearly all of the transportation improvements identified in the current transportation chapter of the Town Plan have either been completed or are scheduled to be completed within the next five years.
And while the main focus up until now has been on the transportation section of the plan, the council may ultimately decide to look at the big picture.
“It makes sense to look at the land use policies before transportation policies,” said Susan Berry-Hill, the town’s director of Planning and Zoning. “They’re really related.”
Should the council decide to do a full-scale review, it would be the first comprehensive update to the Town Plan since 2012, a two-year review that kicked off in 2010. Prior to that, the most recent Town Plan adoption was in 2005, she said. While state code requires that comprehensive plans be updated every five years, Town Attorney Barbara Notar has opined that if the council and staff are looking at updates to the plan on a regular basis that that meets the intent of the law.
Berry-Hill said she plans to return to the Planning Commission in September with a draft project charter. She expects to be before the Town Council on the matter in October. A draft Request for Proposals will also need to be prepared to engage the services of an outside consultant.
More than $300,000 was set aside in the fiscal year 2019 budget for consultant services for an updated transportation plan. Berry-Hill said it is possible that more funding may be needed should the entire Town Plan be reviewed.
She expects the consultant’s work to begin in early 2019.