Rural Zoning in Loudoun County
For 21 months, the Board of Supervisors considered changes
to the county's rural zoning that could have allowed fewer new
houses to be built in western Loudoun. The zoning reverted back
to 1 house per 3 acres (called A-3 zoning) after a March 2005 decision
by the Virginia Supreme Court that threw out the 2003 protective
rural zoning, which allowed 1 house per 20 or 50 acres (AR-1/AR-2).
The court's decision opened the door for 45,876 new houses to be
built in Western Loudoun under the old A-3 zoning.
The Board of Supervisors declared their intent to find a compromise
between the A-3 zoning and the 2003 zoning. However, in December
2006 and after a 21 month delay, the
Board voted 5-4 in support of a plan to allow 18,000+ new houses
in rural Loudoun rather than simply re-advertising
and re-enacting the 2003 zoning. Supervisors
York, Burton, Kurtz, and Waters voted in opposition.
The so-called "Staton
Plan" is hardly a compromise for Loudoun taxpayers and
commuters. It puts our rural economy and its tax base in
jeopardy, adds more traffic to our roads, and will divert county
resources from the needs of our existing communities.
More information on Rural Loudoun
Western Loudoun County - essentially, the rural parts of the County,
excluding incorporated towns. The zoning changes will affect
this area of 227,904 acres that stretches from east of Route 15
to the Blue Ridge Mountains, from the Potomac River south to the
Prince William County line.
What was approved?
Supervisor Mick Staton suggested a last minute plan -- after
15:1 public comment that the Clem/Burton Plan should be adopted
-- that would allow 18,000 new houses, about 4,000 more than the
Clem/Burton Plan. This was adopted by a 5-4 vote.
If the Board of Supervisors had approved the Clem/Burton Plan instead,
the zoning changes would have reduced the number of new houses that
can be built in western Loudoun -- 13,936 instead of 45,876.
Loudoun's rural zoning would have changed from 1 house per 3 acres
to 1 house per 10 or 20 acres.
Why it's important
Building thousands of new houses in the western part of the county
will raise taxes for ALL county residents and require new roads,
schools, and other infrastructure. Without changes, the current
zoning also places Loudoun's farmers and rural businesses in jeopardy,
threatening a part of the county's revenue stream.
The Board of Supervisors.
In November 2005, The Board of Supervisors voted to move forward
with consideration of option one.
In February 2006, the Planning Commission held two public hearings.
In June 2006, the Board of Supervisors held two public hearings.
vote by the Board was delayed and yet another public hearing
is scheduled for July 24.
September 2006: Some members of the Board of Supervisors continue
to delay a final vote on the rural zoning -- and likely putting
the public through another round of public hearings. They are making
last minute changes that prevent any decent analysis or meaningful
public input. They are sending us into a never-ending cycle of public
hearings without taking final action based on the will of the citizens.
December 2006: After three rounds of public hearings, overwhelming
citizen comment in favor of the Clem/Burton Plan (15:1 in favor),
and a 21 month delay, the Board of Supervisors voted 5-4 to pass
the Staton Plan.