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Posted on June 15, 2023 at 3:29 PM by Nancy McCormick
The Loudoun County Planning Commission reached a pivotal milestone in the county’s multi-year Zoning Ordinance Rewrite project during its June 8, 2023, work session: a vote to forward the Planning Commission’s Draft Zoning Ordinance to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval. The vote is the result of more than 20 work sessions held by the commission since August 2022 and consideration of thousands of comments from members of the public. The Planning Commission worked to improve the county’s ordinance by drafting a more simple, modern ordinance that is intended to be easier to use by the public and includes new district regulations that reflect land use policies in the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
Last week, the Planning Commission considered more than 70 motions for final revisions to the draft text. The recommended draft will incorporate the commission’s final edits and be prepared for review by the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks.
The Planning Commission also recommended that the Board consider future Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance amendments after the adoption of a new Zoning Ordinance. These items require additional deliberations by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to ensure Comprehensive Plan (General Plan) policy guidance is considered prior to the consideration of future text amendments. This will also allow time for thorough public processes that will further improve the county’s land use polices and regulations.
Following the completion of more than three years of work that began with the Board of Supervisors’ Zoning Ordinance Committee, and later with the Planning Commission, the next step in the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite project is for the Board to review the recommendation of the Planning Commission. The Board is likely to hold a public hearing on the Planning Commission’s recommended ordinance later this summer and consider potential revisions to ordinance text during a series of work sessions before ultimately adopting a new Zoning Ordinance that will replace the county’s existing ordinance.
The Planning Commission’s Draft Zoning Ordinance will be published on the county’s website in advance of a Board of Supervisors public hearing. The date of the public hearing will be announced once it is scheduled.
About the Zoning Ordinance
The Zoning Ordinance is the primary regulatory tool to implement the county’s long range land use planning policies. The Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan is an aspirational document that guides the county’s planning efforts, and the Zoning Ordinance is comprised of the standards and regulations that implement the plan. The Planning Commission’s extensive review helped form the regulatory zoning code language that governs what land uses are permitted in specific zoning districts. Together the plan and ordinance shape the long-term use of land throughout the county and include consideration of economic sustainability, sensitive environmental features, natural and historic resources, community amenities, quality of life and the development of attainable housing options.
The Planning Commission’s Draft Zoning Ordinance regulates the development of all proposed residential, commercial, industrial and civic buildings and structures, as well as transportation and pedestrian improvements. The Planning Commission’s Draft Zoning Ordinance is designed to foster a high quality of life and successful economy while continuing to protect Loudoun’s historic resources, sensitive environmental features and community amenities.
The Planning Commission’s Draft Zoning Ordinance is based on the June 2, 2023, version of the draft text, and includes final revisions approved by the commission during its June 5 and June 8 work sessions. The final version of the ordinance that will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors will be published online in the coming weeks.
More information about the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite project, including the June 2, 2023, version of the text, videos of the June 5 and 8 work sessions during which the commission approved additional revisions to the draft text, and an interactive map illustrating existing and draft Zoning Districts, is posted at loudoun.gov/ZoningOrdinanceRewrite.
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