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 Don't Supersize Loudoun!
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Congratulations! Thanks to the hundreds of you who spoke out, this week the Board of Supervisors voted no on the Crosstrail proposal for 1,000 houses near Leesburg. This wouldn't have happened without your action.

Developers Looking for a Back Door Deal
Developers are trying to end run the democratic process in Loudoun, by seeking the right to build thousands more new houses. But because the houses would be by-right, there would be no public say, and we would get stuck with the bill for millions!*

At a public hearing on Tuesday, July 31, the Board of Supervisors will consider massive changes to the Zoning Ordinance, the laws that enforce our county's Comprehensive Plan. If approved, these changes would mean:

  • Developers could build more houses per acre than currently allowed without paying proffers.
    Most of these new houses would be in suburban Loudoun alone and could be built by-right above and beyond what is already allowed. This is an addition to the 30,000 houses already in the pipeline.

  • Laws would become mere "guidelines" that could be easily waived.
    Many of the critical laws governing how new houses are built would become guidelines that could be easily changed, putting our safety, environment, and quality of life at risk.
  • Citizens would lose their say.
    Because the new houses would be
    by-right, they would be approved by administrative process instead of a public hearing.
  • It would cost county taxpayers millions.
    We - not the developers - would pay the high costs of county services for thousands more new houses. New houses cost the county more in services than they provide in taxes.
  • We would feel the impacts immediately.
    The county hasn't done transportation, fiscal, or county services impact studies -- but the changes would take effect immediately.

Email the Board of Supervisors

Tell the Board of Supervisors: It's unfair to expect us to weigh in without all of the information! The county needs to analyze the impacts of the proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance first.

*Please be sure to include your name and address so your comments can be counted.

Be there on
Tuesday, July 31

This is our one chance to be heard! Please come to the hearing and speak, hold a sign, and represent your neighbors who are on vacation. Let us know you will be there.

Public Hearing
with the Board of Supervisors

Tuesday, July 31 @ 6:30 PM
County Government Center

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Tell the Board of Supervisors it is unacceptable to consider these massive changes without studying the impacts of thousands more houses in suburban Loudoun.

*The county has not studied the impacts of these proposed changes, so we don't know exactly how many new houses would be allowed and how much it would cost us. We are currently reviewing the proposed changes and will get back to you with more information.

The Proposed Changes
There are 846 pages of suggested changes to Loudoun's Zoning Ordinance, adding up to one thing: an end-run around the vision set forth by our Comprehensive Plan.

Highlights of the proposed changes:

  • Thousands more new houses could be built by-right, most of them in suburban Loudoun. This is in addition to the more than 30,000 new houses in the pipeline.
    By making small, technical changes to the zoning ordinance, developers could build more houses than currently allowed and change the way our neighborhoods look and feel.  These changes include less open space, less parking, less landscaping, taller buildings closer to the street, and density bonuses for unbuildable floodplain land. 

  • Environmental protections called for by the Comprehensive Plan are missing.
    Restrictions to protect environmentally sensitive areas are missing.  These protections could include Conservation Design, Limestone Overlay District, and River Stream Corridor Overlay District.

  • Removing a restriction against using residential neighborhood streets for primary access to shopping centers -- which would allow truck traffic on our streets.
    The impacts on our neighborhoods and local roads have not been analyzed.

  • Many rules for developers, including safeguards for the public and the environment, could be easily changed without public say.
    This would be accomplished by moving the regulations from the legally binding zoning ordinance to the Facilities Standards Manual (FSM), where changes can be made administratively. An example is moving floodplain regulations to the FSM would increase the potential for flooding and loss and destruction of personal property.

  • Allowing larger by-right business and commercial uses of land.
    This reduces the potential for transportation proffers, and may result in uses that are incompatible with their surroundings.

More Information

Analysis of the proposed changes (pdf)
Prepared by the Piedmont Environmental Council

Proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance (pdf)
County document

What is zoning?
An ordinance that divides the county into different districts or zones.  The land in each zone is assigned specific use or uses, either by-right, as a special exception, or as a rezoning.  Zoning also determines how our communities look by guiding where and how buildings are placed in relationship to each other, whether and how environmental features like streams and trees are protected, and amount of impervious areas allowed.

How is the Zoning Ordinance different from the Comprehensive Plan?
The Comprehensive Plan lays outs the county's and citizens' vision for future growth: how much, how it will look, where it will be located, and what we want to protect. The Zoning Ordinance is the law that is supposed to ensure that the vision becomes a reality. It provides specific limits and rules for development.

What does by right mean?

By right describes the amount of development that can be legally built without a public process. By right development applications are handled by county staff. Developers don't offset the cost of by right development.



Rebecca Perring, Coalition for Smarter Growth
On behalf of the Campaign for Loudoun's Future

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

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