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Posted on: June 20, 2019

Board Adopts 2019 Comprehensive Plan; Guide for Future Land Use & Transportation Policy

Photo of Board of Supervisors Adoption of Comprehensive Plan

After an extensive review and public process, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has adopted the 2019 Comprehensive Plan. The plan will serve as the county government’s guide for land use and transportation policy that will provide a flexible framework and implementation strategy to meet the county’s future priorities and needs. 

The 2019 Comprehensive Plan, which includes the General Plan and Countywide Transportation Plan, presents a community-based vision for Loudoun’s future. The policy document provides guidance to the county’s decision-makers regarding land development, capital improvements, public programs and the county’s transportation network. 

Through the process of revising the Comprehensive Plan, the Board of Supervisors has made significant decisions affecting how the county will manage growth, provide for capital facilities and maintain the county’s strong fiscal health. These accomplishments include, but are not limited to: 

  • Creating a new planning area concept, the Urban Policy Area, near the Silver Line Metrorail stations;  
  • Providing additional opportunities for reinvestment in the Suburban Policy Area;
  • Endorsing updates to the Countywide Transportation Plan that will implement the Board’s vision calling for “efficient infrastructure networks that safely connect people to places within the community, to the region, and the world;” and 
  • Supporting economic development policies that encourage a diverse and globally competitive Loudoun economy. 

The Comprehensive Plan addresses the county’s four types of policy areas – Rural, Suburban, Transition and Urban – with specific policies, strategies, and actions tailored to the needs of each area. 

“The 2019 Comprehensive Plan provides a framework for future growth and development in one of the nation’s fastest-growing counties that will have a positive impact on the quality of life in Loudoun County, and provides a balanced approach to future development in strategic areas,” said Deputy County Administrator Charles Yudd, who has overseen the Comprehensive Plan revision.

Community Engagement

Development of the plan began in April 2016. Over the past three years, the revision of the Loudoun County Comprehensive Plan has involved input from thousands of community members, included deliberations of a Stakeholders Committee and encompassed a thorough review by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. With more than 100 public meetings devoted to the Comprehensive Plan’s revision, the community outreach process brought together residents and businesses, elected and appointed officials, other stakeholders and county staff. Through the planning process known as Envision Loudoun, members of the community identified their priorities for Loudoun’s future as they relate to growth management, land use, transportation, community facilities and amenities, economic development, fiscal management, and natural, environmental, and heritage resources. 

Overview of Comprehensive Plan

The 2019 Comprehensive Plan covers a wide range of existing and new policy areas, provides guidance on quality development, focuses on efforts to revitalize the Suburban Policy Area, preserves the county’s natural and heritage resources, protects the rural economy and agricultural uses, promotes the county’s diverse and competitive economy, and supports a wide range of housing choices. The plan addresses many issues important to the community, including: 

  • Urban Policy Areas: The plan establishes new Urban Policy Areas that encompass approximately 2,600 acres in areas around the Silver Line Metrorail stations. The plan calls for vibrant, high-density development that accommodates housing, employment, retail, education, and entertainment in close proximity to Metrorail. These areas will facilitate opportunities for significant job creation and expansion of the county’s tax base.
  • Housing Choices and Diversity: The plan provides for a multifaceted approach to promote housing availability and affordability, increasing the diversity of housing choices. The plan’s policies support increasing residential density in targeted areas and encouraging a greater variety of housing types near jobs and transportation facilities. 
  • Transition Policy Area: With its expansive natural, open space, the Transition Policy Area is intended to be visually distinct from the Suburban Policy Area and the Rural Policy Area. The plan calls for the Transition Policy Area to retain its visual character by using compact development concepts with substantial open space requirements, and low profile construction to minimize visual intrusion into the natural environment. The Board approved significantly less residential density and light industrial uses in the Transition Policy Area as compared to the Planning Commission’s recommendations. 
  • Natural, Environmental and Heritage Resources: The plan provides guidance for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of Loudoun County’s abundant natural, environmental and heritage resources through conservation, preservation, restoration and education. The plan also supports the concept of an interconnected network of linear parks, trails and open space.
  • Economic Development: The plan includes new policies and strategies to continue Loudoun’s success as an economic leader regionally and globally. Employment uses adjacent to the future Metrorail stations will also present new opportunities to attract employers who seek to locate in dynamic, urban communities with access to mass transit.
  • Transportation: The plan seeks to provide access and mobility for residents, workers, and visitors; protect and enhance health and safety through design and construction; and promote quality of life by protecting the integrity of the various policy areas and incorporated towns as they relate to the transportation network.

Implementation

To implement the Revised Comprehensive Plan, the county must take several steps. The priority implementation actions are:

  • A comprehensive review and overhaul of the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance, which is a regulatory document and establishes the rules governing the use of land.  
  • Development of an Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan that will identify the strategies, actions and programs that can best address the county’s current and projected unmet housing needs, including guidance on down-payment assistance programs, utilization of housing trust funds, and home purchase programs.
  • Establishment of regular updates by county staff to the Board on various elements of the 2019 Comprehensive Plan, which will allow the Board to direct a comprehensive review of the plan at least every five years to ensure that the plan is kept current.

Other implementation actions include updating the Land Subdivision and Development Ordinance and the Facilities Standards Manual so that development regulations and design standards are consistent with the policies and strategies of the Comprehensive Plan. Many other programmatic and planning initiatives will also be part of the plan implementation.

For More Information

Documents, including staff reports regarding the adoption of the plan and the text of the plan, are posted online as part of the Board’s June 20, 2019, packet. Once the Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan is finalized, the document will be published on the county website at loudoun.gov/2019ComprehensivePlan

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