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 Don't Supersize Loudoun!
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Nov. 29: Rural Zoning Public Hearing
Protest the ongoing delay

The Board of Supervisors is holding a public hearing on yet a third proposal for rural zoning. We are angry with the shameful delay in implementing new rural zoning and the never-ending public hearings. Thousands of you have made it abundantly clear that 46,000 new houses in rural Loudoun just doesn't make sense.

We need to hold our elected leaders accountable for making a decision and the 21 months of delay -- and to do that, we need to show up at the hearing. Let them know that we understand the negative impact on our taxes, traffic, and rural economy.

We need to tell them again:

  • Adopt the Burton Plan with no more delays; this plan allows 13,936 new houses in rural Loudoun
  • SAY NO to the Staton Plan; this plan allows 18,000-21,000 new houses in rural Loudoun
  • SAY NO to grandfathering beyond state law
  • Protect our rural economy
  • Remove over 30,000 houses from Loudoun's current rural zoning
  • Prevent 300,000 daily car trips on our congested roads
  • Save millions of taxpayer dollars

More Information
Why rural zoning matters to suburban Loudoun
A Loudoun farmer's perspective on the Staton Plan
Background and timeline of the delay
Supervisor Staton's proposal for rural zoning
Comparison of Burton and Staton Plans (Word doc)

Background on the Delay

See our rural zoning timeline

In March 2004, we asked our elected leaders to re-advertise and re-enact the 2003 zoning ordinance. The 2003 ordinance was the true rural zoning that protected and enhanced the rural economy and protected all county residents from unreasonable taxes and terrible traffic impacts. Overall buildout would have been over 10,000 houses on 230,000 acres.

Protest at the Hearing

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on the Rural Zoning
Wednesday, November 29
3:00 and 6:30 PM
County Government Center

Watch the hearing online

Send an Email in Protest

Please send the Board of Supervisors an email even if you've already written them before.

*** Be sure to include your name and address in order to be counted as a Loudoun resident. ***

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The Board refused to even discuss re-advertising and re-enacting. In response, hundreds of citizens spoke out in support of a compromise, known as the Burton Plan, that would have allowed 13,936 new houses to be built in rural Loudoun. The Board ignored input from the public, 15:1, in favor of this proposal and did not vote on it.

Now we are being asked to comment on yet a third proposal, know as the Staton proposal, which would allow an 80--110% increase in density over the original 2003 zoning.

Meanwhile, throughout this 21-month delay, subdivision applications at one house per three acres and one house per one acre continue to be approved throughout western Loudoun.

Thoughts on Supervisor Staton's proposal for rural zoning
From Martha Polkey, Black Sheep Farm, Lucketts

As a rural landowner and rural business owner, I give you my thoughts on the Staton zoning plan, which was presented to Loudouners as a bait-and-switch fait accompli after Loudoun County Citizens overwhelmingly rejected it and in favor of the Clem-Burton plan, which county staff spent a year planning for.

The Staton plan is A-3 zoning that has put on a few pounds.

It is a developer-authored scheme to flip the entire northern tier of Loudoun County—thousands and thousands of acres—from commercial to residential use, on a scale that dwarfs One Loudoun or any other previous attempt to reward developers with hugely more profitable residential developments at the expense of local taxpayers.

Every 5-acre piece of farmland in northern Loudoun that does not have a house built on it saves the county’s taxpayers $10,000 in new school construction and at least $6,000 a year in new salaries for teachers and safety personnel.

And Loudoun’s agricultural producers provide a growing and expanding “cash cow” for the county—while requiring very little in the way of tax dollars for support services.

  • Products grown on Loudoun farms were sold for nearly $40 million in 2002 (a 40% increase from five years before).
  • The equine industry generates $80 million a year. The tonnage of grapes produced in Loudoun have increased by over 200% during the past 5 years.
  • Loudoun County is the largest hay-producing county in Virginia with over 54,000 acres in production, generating $7 million a year.
  • Loudoun is one of the top 10 cattle producing counties in Virginia, and maintains a herd of 34,000 head.
  • Loudoun is in the top 10 sheep producing counties in Virginia.

The Staton plan, like A-3 zoning, threatens this agricultural engine. A viable agricultural economy depends upon a web of infrastructure that in Loudoun will be rapidly degraded by 5-achre zoning.

Allowing thousands more houses in the northern rural area degrades or destroys the value and business viability of adjacent commercial rural land.

  • It threatens agricultural businesses’ groundwater supply and safety.
  • It makes farming operations difficult (including spraying, protection of livestock from trespassers and wandering dogs, movement of farm equipment).
  • Fragmentation of agricultural parcels (interspersed between housing tracts) increases costs for farmers and custom operators.
  • Reduced profitability and subsequent loss of a critical mass of rural businesses creates a cascading loss of support businesses (equipment, service, supply businesses) that causes the entire rural infrastructure to crash.
  • It destroys the scenic (and revenue-positive!) vistas and historic destinations which support the huge and growing tourism and recreational business base for this western side of the Washington metropolitan area.

It also threatens groundwater supply and safety present rural homeowners, who have little recourse if their wells run dry or become contaminated by sewage from adjacent developments. Northern Loudoun contains a huge area where sinkholes and solution channels make it particularly vulnerable to health issues from overdevelopment. The fragmented geography of much of the rest of the region already has resulted in strains on groundwater supply for present residents.

This push to flip Loudoun’s growing and profitable rural business base over to more, and more, and more houses comes at a time when the demand for locally produced food and nearby recreation has never, never been stronger. Consumers are demanding more and more food that is fresher, produced sustainably, and produced fuel-efficiently. That is the market a number of small businessmen—farmers—in Loudoun’s breadbasket are now serving.

And if the Staton plan is passed, this devastating and destructive change will come at a time when national, state (Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania), and local leaders of all political parties have recognized the national historic value of the Route 15 corridor (as part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Region) and have advocated its preservation and development as a tourism destination for the nation’s citizens to enjoy. Again, this is a profoundly revenue-positive endeavor. (Tourists come, enjoy, spend money, and leave, taking their school-aged children with them.) And Loudouners lucky enough to live nearby it can enjoy it easily year round.

In short, the Staton plan is an attack on Loudoun’s rural business environment and its rural businessmen. There is every disadvantage for Loudoun taxpayers and residents in losing this precious resource and positive revenue stream, and every advantage for them in demanding that their Supervisor reject it.

Thank you for your support,
Andrea McGimsey
Campaign for Loudoun's Future
[email protected]

Together, We're Fighting to Protect the Quality of Life in Loudoun

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