Loudoun County residents should be on the lookout for wasteful, sprawling development proposals. Currently, there are 24 active proposals that have been submitted to the County for consideration. Twenty of these proposals are residential and, if approved, would add another 9,800 residential units in Loudoun. Disturbingly, most of these proposals are not in line with the Comprehensive Plan and would increase sprawling development in the County’s Transition Policy Area—an area that is designated to maintain a lower density. Also, eight of the proposals reference the Outer Beltway as justification for breaking ground—further evidence that the proposed road will encourage sprawl in the Transition Area.
According to our estimates, Loudoun currently has over 29,000 units in the “pipeline”—an inventory of approved residences. This is more than a ten year supply of housing. With this many units in the pipeline, the aforementioned proposals are far from needed.
Need aside, approving more housing developments would not be good for Loudoun economically. Developers suggest that residential growth equals economic development, but they aren’t considering the consequential increase in taxes. Based on the most recent County analysis, each residential unit in Loudoun costs $1.62 for every dollar in taxes paid.
There are a number of additional issues that Loudoun residents experience from over development, including inadequate social services, environmental degradation, increased traffic, excessive school boundary line adjustments, and insufficient proffers to make up for these costs. If there’s one thing that Loudoun County and our Board of Supervisors should have learned from our earlier explosive growth, it’s that adding more development to the pipeline will further degrade our community with sky-high debt and lower standards of living.
Your input is critical as the Board considers this new round of development applications. We will keep you informed as they move through the public process so that you can provide your input.
For more information about this issue, contact Ed Gorski, PEC’s Loudoun County Land Use Field Officer: