Floodplain Update Debated in Leesburg

The Planning Commission this week will continue to grapple with changes to the town’s floodplain regulations while under a tight timeline to make its recommendations to the Town Council.

The town must comply with the changes following the remapping of floodplain boundaries throughout Loudoun County. Updates to the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision and Land Development Regulations, Design and Construction Standards Manual, and Town Code are needed to continue the town’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

According to the staff report, a principle requirement for participating in NFIP is that the town must adopt ordinances and regulations to meet or exceed FEMA and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation requirements related to floodplain management. The two agencies provided the town with a model floodplain ordinance, and the town staff has put together a list of ordinance amendments needed to comply with the changes.

The FEMA-mandated deadline for these changes is Feb. 17 and, with the commission taking up the matter for a vote this week, means that the Town Council will have to hold a public hearing on the matter at its Feb. 14 meeting and vote that same night.

The town held an informational meeting for affected landowners Jan. 17, and several speakers expressed caution to commissioners on the changes at its Jan. 19 meeting. Among the concerns is that adopting the new regulations could restrict new development, or redevelopment, on sites characterized as major or minor floodplain and subject to the new regulations.

The town has dedicated a section of its website to help explain the changes, leesburgva.gov/floodplain.

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