First Loudoun Planning Commission Zoning Ordinance Hearing Tonight

The Loudoun County Planning Commission tonight, Aug. 30, will hold its first public hearing on the county’s Zoning Ordinance overhaul, although not all of the new ordinance will be at the hearing because not all of it is ready yet.

The new ordinance is the enforceable regulatory document that implements the policies of the 2019 Comprehensive Plan. And like the comprehensive plan which hadn’t been updated in nearly 20 years, the last complete overhaul of the of the Zoning Ordinance was in 2003. Since the adoption of the 2019 Comprehensive Plan, the county Zoning Ordinance has not matched the updated general plan, while land development and permit applications have continued to come in.

Meanwhile, some of the new ordinance’s most debated chapters are still not ready for a public hearing, including ones detailing zoning districts, use standards, overlay districts, environmental standards, and attainable housing rules. Those will all go to future public hearings.

In addition, four Zoning Ordinance updates are being addressed separately from the Zoning Ordinance rewrite: an update to the Airport Impact Overlay District, zoning changes to accommodate a large Dulles Airport solar project, a review of cluster subdivision zoning seeking to better protect prime agricultural soils, and more changes to regulation of short-term residential rentals.

Tonight, the commission will hear public input on chapters of the ordinance including development standards such as landscaping, parking, light and noise, and parking; sign regulations; regulations on nonconforming uses such as buildings that do not fit the new Zoning Ordinance but are grandfathered in; and adaptive reuse, usually rehabilitating historic structures and putting them to new use. They will also hear input on chapters largely regarding the administration of government, including procedures ranging from applying for permits, to legislative applications, to zoning enforcement; a chapter governing the powers, duties and makeup of the zoning administrator, Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, and Historic District Review Committee; a schedule of fees related to development applications; and rules on how the Zoning Ordinance should be interpreted. Additional appendices relate to the ordinance itself, such as definitions of the terms it uses and an index of acronyms.

The Planning Commission hearing is the latest step in an extensive process that has included 26 interest groups, online public comment periods, in-person public meetings, and 40 meetings of the county’s Zoning Ordinance Committee and its subcommittees as county staff members have written drafts of the new ordinance.

When the Planning Commission finishes its work on the Zoning Ordinance, it will forward that on to the Board of Supervisors for another public hearing and more work.

Tonight’s public hearing begins at 6 p.m. in the boardroom of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison St. in Leesburg. Review Planning Commission documents and sign up in advance to speak at the public hearing at loudoun.gov/planningcommission.

 The draft zoning ordinance is available for review at loudoun.gov/5274/Zoning-Ordinance-Rewrite.

One thought on “First Loudoun Planning Commission Zoning Ordinance Hearing Tonight

  • 2022-08-30 at 3:39 pm
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    I intend to watch tonight’s Planning Commission meeting remotely. Supervisors often say words to the effect: “Well, the developer has a right to do this; we can’t do anything about it.” But I don’t know if that’s true. I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of their powers at tonight’s meeting. Happy Be Kind to Humankind Week Loudoun!

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