County supervisors have narrowed the options for the new local electoral districts to three choices, and are now gathering input on those.
The three options are not yet set in stone—any of them could still be tweaked before supervisors pick one to send to a public hearing. They are expected to vote in March to send one to public hearing in May.
Already there is a favorite among supervisors. In a round of voting to see which options could win support from a majority of supervisors at first only one map made the cut—a collaboration between Supervisors Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) and Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn). Supervisors were given the option to vote for up to five options among 20 proposals—most voted for fewer, and of the eight supervisors present, six supervisors listed that one as an options.
When no others made the cut, Turner added a vote for a plan proposed by Avram “Avi” Fechter to push it over the threshold, and Vice Chairman Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) added a vote for a new map proposed by the Coalition of Loudoun Towns.
Letourneau thanked Turner for his collaboration.
“I think we had a really great process together to take kind of the concept of his plan and sort of apply some of those principles on my plan,” Letourneau said.
Letourneau’s original proposals sought to keep communities of interests and homeowners’ associations together, mostly avoiding splitting neighborhoods. The resulting plan, after working with Turner, creates a large western district including everything north and west of Leesburg. It includes the Clarkes Gap, Firehouse, Philomont and St. Louis precincts, stretching to the county’s southern border near Atoka west of Middleburg.
The Town of Leesburg would have its own district, which would also include areas of River Creek to the east, as well as areas south of town to the Dulles Greenway and Sycolin Creek. Another district, south of Leesburg, would cover the rest of the county’s southern border, bringing together Middleburg, Aldie, areas south of Braddock Road, and part of Brambleton.
A district east of Leesburg would reach south along Belmont Ridge Road generally, including large communities like Lansdowne, Belmont Country Club, and parts of Ashburn Farm and Broadlands. An Ashburn district would reach from Moorefield Station, sharing parts of Broadlands and Ashburn Farm, most of Ashburn Village, north to One Loudoun and east to Kincora, all south of Rt. 7.
A Sterling district would include Dulles Town Center, reach south from Rt. 7 and wrap around Dulles Airport to include industrial areas and Loudoun Valley Estates. A southeastern district would include the airport—which has no voting population—but densely populated areas including South Riding, Stone Ridge, and everything east of Gum Spring Road and south of Rt. 50.
All three plans now under consideration include an identical northeastern district including all of Loudoun north of Rt. 7, from Lexington 7 east.
County Chair Phyllis J. Randall argued neighborhood HOAs are not communities of interest for redistricting purposes.
“An HOA can never be split, the HOA is still the HOA. In my opinion the HOA now gets to have two representatives instead of one,” Randall said.
The Coalition of Loudoun Towns plan—the organization’s second submission—creates two western districts, and has the support of western supervisors. In a newsletter to constituents, Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) encouraged them to write into the board with support for that plan. That plan would create one western district wrapped around Leesburg to the south as well as picking up some southern parts of town, and another all the way to the county’s southeastern portion south of Rt. 50.
That would leave an Ashburn district to pick up most of Lansdowne, all of Belmont Country Club and Ashburn Farm, and most of Ashburn Village. The Sterling district would reach far into Ashburn on the south side of Rt. 7, bordering on Claiborne Parkway. That would include One Loudoun, most of Potomac Green and part of Ashburn Village along with Kincora and Sterling communities such as Sterling Park. Brambleton would be the largest community in a district also including Broadlands, Moorefield Station and Loudoun Valley Estates. And a district split by Dulles Airport would bring together areas north of the airport and areas south including South Riding and Stone Ridge.
Buffington said his main goals are to maintain two western Loudoun districts and to see Brambleton represented as an eastern district, which he said that map does.
“Unfortunately, under the Fechter and Letourneau Plans, Brambleton could end up with a representative living in western Loudoun whose completely unfamiliar with the Brambleton community,” Buffington wrote. “And neither the Fechter or Letourneau plan does as good a job of providing two properly balanced western Loudoun Districts as the COLT Plan does.”
COLT argues the rural areas and Transition Policy Area which divides them from the suburbs share common interests, and that the current western districts need only incremental updates including to move Brambleton into a more suburban district.
The Fechter plan resembles the Letourneau/Turner plan in the west, but with differences in the east. See the plans on offer and offer comment online here.
Supervisors voted 8-0-1 on Jan. 18 to proceed with further public input and staff analysis on those three plans, Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run) absent. Supervisors are scheduled to take up those maps again on Feb. 15. County staff anticipate a public hearing on a single map May 11.