Campaign for Loudoun's Future: Promoting Sensible Limits on Future Growth
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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.

Who decided
The Board of Supervisors.

Latest action
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. However, a 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.







Our Rural Economy

What is the rural economy?
The rural economy benefits ALL of Loudoun
Loudoun's rural economy is booming
Why zoning protects the rural economy
What's at stake
A Suburban Viewpoint
Why rural Loudoun matters
What is Grandfathering?
Timeline of Important Events
Glossary of Planning Terms
Links & Resources
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