- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Loudoun County supervisors last night voted 7-2 for a revised comprehensive plan that would alter the landscape of the entire county.
The new plan, which appears to be driven by environmental concerns, calls for the reduction of new housing in the county, particularly in the rural western portion.
Supervisors, calling it a "new course" for the county and a "bold step toward managing growth," said the goal is to reduce new housing in the county by half. New housing in western Loudoun County would be cut 77 percent, with the east getting a 27 percent reduction. The decreases would be achieved through policies requiring minimum acreage per house.
In northwest Loudoun County, one home would be allowed on every 20 acres, or 10 acres if clustered. In the southwest, one house would be built on every 50 acres, or 20 acres if clustered. The eastern half of the county would be divided into four communities retrofitted around town centers. Houses there would be built on between 1 and 4 acres of land.
The comprehensive plan has been a point of contention among county residents since it was introduced in January 2000. This was apparent last night, as residents on both sides of the issue shouted and heckled some supervisors, and waved signs reading "Stop the Sprawl" and "No Downzoning Without Compensation."
Western county residents opposed to the plan argued that they should be allowed to build on their own property, while easterners said they felt like they would be feeling the brunt of any new development.
"We're going to be the 'Kiss 'n' Ride' for the rest of the county," said Drew Hiatt, supervisor representing the Dulles District.
In the end, proponents of the plan got their way.
"I was charged by the voters to [do] the job they wanted done," said Eleanore Towe, vice chairman of the board, who represents the Blue Ridge District: "slow residential sprawl across our landscape, protect our environment and preserve our small communities, their schools and neighborhoods."
Loudoun County, with a population of 156,000, is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. From 1998 to 1999, the county added 11,770 residents.
It is unlikely that residents of the county will see the effects of the plan in the next 10 years. A huge building backlog exists, supervisors said, and the new plan will do nothing to curb it.
Landowners in the county had tried to stop the slow-growth proposal last year, but the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed the legal challenge in December. The suit stated that the county had not completed economic and environmental studies required under Virginia law.

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