When supervisors adopted the 2019 Comprehensive Plan in June, they also laid out some next steps to deal with the open questions still left by that work—in particular, Loudoun’s housing problems.
The Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan, according to supervisors’ vote over the summer, will be a review of all of Loudoun’s housing policies and regulations, including at least discussions of down-payment assistance programs, utilization of housing trust funds and home purchase programs. The board, according to that vote, should not approve any developer applications for higher-density residential development in the urban policy area around Loudoun’s future Metro stops.
The goal is to make sure Loudoun—notorious for its high housing costs and miles of townhouses—has a variety of housing types, sizes, and prices. The new comprehensive plan calls on county leaders to focus on the needs of households making less than the Area Median Income, currently $121,300 for a family of four.
After consultation among the heads of county offices ranging from family services to economic development to the Commissioner of the Revenue, the plan will focus on three strategies; preserving any affordable housing already on the market, encouraging more development of affordable housing, and making sure people have access to housing they can afford.
That will start with gathering input from the businesses, lenders, developers, nonprofits, town governments, realtors, and the general public. Although nothing is yet scheduled, that will include a kick-off open house, a variety of surveys, focus groups, and a page on the county website.
County staff members will then compile the existing and new data and input they have, evaluate the existing plans, and put a draft Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan out for public review.
That is expected to result in a plan that documents existing and future housing needs, lays out existing and possible strategies and programs, and short- and long-term priorities. It will also include annual production targets and funding priorities.
The plan is expected to take 12-14 months to finish, and will be overseen as it continues by the Board of Supervisors’ Finance/Government Operations and Economic Development Committee. Before the plan is adopted, the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the plan.
Supervisors approved of that process 8-0-1, with Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run) off the dais.
“This is a tough task, and I want to make sure that we don’t get tunnel vision on just the affordable housing side of it,” said Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles).