Loudoun County supervisors have unanimously voted to give the county’s oldest business $42,000 cash to stay put.
The Loudoun Mutual Insurance Company was founded on March 6, 1849, and today employs 50 people, according to a county report. However, the office in Waterford that the company built and has occupied since 1949 was left hamstrung when Loudoun County changed the property’s zoning in 1993. The county placed it in a residential district where offices are not allowed.
With that zoning change, the nearly 170-year-old company could not expand its building, and the company’s leaders became concerned that if something happened to the building, they would not be allowed to rebuild it there. The nonconforming zoning status has also created complications for the insurance company insuring its own building. For that reason, the oldest company in the county, and one bearing its very name, considered leaving Loudoun.
The $42,000 grant is intended to help the company cover the estimated $27,720 cost to get the land rezoned, plus any related impact studies that may be necessary.
Although the grant is expected to meet the Department of Economic Development’s guidelines for a three-year return on investment of tax revenues, the county appears to be making an exception to its usual guidelines for Loudoun Mutual. Under the county’s guidelines, the typical requirements for incentivizing a company expanding inside Loudoun are that it create a minimum of 25 new jobs, invest a minimum of $2.5 million, win a Virginia Jobs Investment Program grant and be in one of Loudoun’s targeted industries, which do not include insurance.
Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) first proposed developing an incentive package to keep Loudoun Mutual in Loudoun in September 2018. County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said at a supervisors’ meeting on Feb. 5 that “it’s such an important business to have in Loudoun County.”