Days-Long Town Plan Charette Kicks Off in Leesburg

An almost week-long effort to gather public input on revisions to Leesburg’s Town Plan kicked off in earnest Thursday.

The consultant team hired to work with the town staff on initial changes to Leesburg’s comprehensive plan opened a temporary “design studio” in Ida Lee Park Recreation Center’s lower level conference room Thursday morning. The public is invited to stop in during the five-day-long charette, when the studio will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Monday, Nov. 11. On the final day of the charette, Tuesday, Nov. 12, a presentation on the work completed so far is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and again that evening during the 7 p.m. Town Council meeting.

To kick things off, Matt Noonkester, of City Explained and a member of the consultant team, appeared before the Planning Commission on Thursday night. He said there already has been significant public engagement on the plan thus far, with a Community Ideas Exchange Workshop, On the Table discussions, and stakeholder interviews. He emphasized that more will be planned going forward, so the five-day charette is far from the last time that the public will be able to weigh in. The end goal for the charette and, ultimately, the draft plan, is to bring together the public input, marry it with the data and analysis consultants and staff are working on, and also consider best practices of other communities nationwide.

“Where all that comes together is where the plan is written,” he said.

In addition to design drawings, consultants and staff will also be running numbers on computers and hosting a number of “deep dive” conversations with the public and stakeholders on specific topics throughout the next five days. There already was one “a-ha moment”, Noonkester reported, when it was realized that town does not have a statement describing its character.

The Town of Leesburg’s consultant team sprawled town maps out for public view during a five-day charette at the Ida Lee Recreation Center to gather input on initial changes to the town’s comprehensive plan. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

Those who have not been able to make a public input session yet will have several opportunities Friday night. Town staff members and the consultant team members will be stationed at three locations around town Friday evening to solicit feedback on the comprehensive plan.

Members of the public can stop by these “Pop-up Meetings” any time between 5-9 p.m. to answer a few survey questions and to provide any other feedback on the Town Plan update. The locations are: the former Leesburg Vintner store at 29 S. King St.; in the Village at Leesburg next to the Altar’d State store, at 1604 Village Market Blvd. SE, Suite 105; and on the main level of Ida Lee Park Recreation Center.

Members of the public are also invited to stop by the lower level conference room at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center over the weekend during the studio hours of the Town Plan Design Charrette. A full schedule showing all open hours and times for detailed discussions is available