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Posted on: January 16, 2020

Loudoun County Launches Round One of Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Process with Focus Group Sessions

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Loudoun County is beginning the first phase of the Zoning Ordinance rewrite process, as county staff plan to meet in January, February and March 2020 with community and professional groups that are familiar with the county’s land development regulations and processes.

The Zoning Ordinance is the primary implementation tool for the 2019 Comprehensive Plan. Once rewritten, it will provide an added level of specificity based on the community’s vision as expressed in the policies, strategies and actions of the 2019 Comprehensive Plan.

The planned focus group meetings represent the first round of in-person discussion. There will be additional opportunities for community groups and the public to review draft text and provide comments as the process moves forward in the coming year. 

Input from the Board of Supervisors, advisory bodies, various departments, community and professional groups, the general public and the Zoning Ordinance Action Group will be factored into the final product, which is expected to be completed in late 2021. 

“Receiving input on the Zoning Ordinance from groups who know it well and use it regularly will inform the first draft of our revised ordinance text and make it a better regulatory document,” said Alaina Ray, director of the Department of Planning and Zoning.

The main focus areas of the Zoning Ordinance rewrite include:

  • Implementation of the new comprehensive plan vision, including the Urban Policy Area, which involves new place types with densities, standards, building forms and infrastructure that have yet to be realized in Loudoun County.
  • Modernization: revising land uses and definitions to reflect the current marketplace, reevaluating parking ratios and calculations, updating lot and building standards, and aligning how the county administers planned unit developments with modern practice.
  • Consistency audit: analyzing existing standards and striving for consistency within the document and across zoning districts when feasible.
  • Structure and flow: improving the document structure, making it user-friendly and clear.
  • Opportunities and challenges: evaluating input from stakeholders about the current Zoning Ordinance and making improvements where appropriate.
  • Legislation: incorporating changes based on new or revised provisions of the Code of Virginia, court cases, and best management practices promoted by the Virginia Association of Zoning Officials, Urban Land Institute and American Planning Association.

A list of community groups the county will reach out to in the winter 2020 meetings is available in the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Project Plan item from the September 19, 2019 Board of Supervisors meeting.

A project webpage has been created– loudoun.gov/zoningordinancerewrite – to inform and engage the public as this project progresses. The page will be updated regularly; individuals can also sign up to receive periodic email updates on the Zoning Ordinance rewrite process. 

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