Nov 19

Board of Supervisors Adopts Resolution of Intent to Amend Zoning Ordinance

Posted on November 19, 2021 at 2:49 PM by Nancy McCormick

The Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance Rewrite project has reached a significant milestone. At its November 16, 2021 meeting, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors adopted a Resolution of Intent to Amend (ROIA) for the Revised 1993 Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance. The ROIA is a formal resolution adopted by the BOS publicly announcing the intent to amend the entire Zoning Ordinance; adoption of a ROIA is a necessary step in revising the ordinance. 

The Board’s action marks the official referral of the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite to the Planning Commission for review and recommendations. The completion of the Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan provided the impetus for this major rewrite of the Revised 1993 ordinance. Key goals for the rewrite include:

  • Implementation of the Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan vision, including the Urban Policy Area, which involves new place types with densities, standards, building forms and infrastructure that have yet to be realized in Loudoun County.
  • Modernization: revising land uses and definitions to reflect the current marketplace, reevaluating parking ratios and calculations, updating lot and building standards, and aligning how the county administers planned unit developments with modern practice.
  • Consistency audit: analyzing existing standards and striving for consistency within the document and across zoning districts when feasible.
  • Structure and flow: improving the document structure, making it user-friendly and clear.
  • Opportunities and challenges: evaluating input from stakeholders about the current Zoning Ordinance and making improvements where appropriate.
  • Legislation: incorporating changes based on new or revised provisions of the Code of Virginia, court cases and best management practices promoted by the Virginia Association of Zoning Officials, Urban Land Institute and American Planning Association.

As part of the rewrite process to date, the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning and the Zoning Ordinance Committee have discussed possible new and revised land uses, definitions and performance standards; improvements to parking regulations; renaming of zoning districts; and changes to process. Potential ordinance changes are intended to implement the Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan and respond to input from the public, community groups, advisory bodies, and subject matter experts. 

Potential Changes

Progress to date includes the potential for:

  • Adding land uses to implement the Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan, reflect the current marketplace and address gaps identified by staff, citizens and Zoning Ordinance Committee members. 
  • Combining or renaming land uses for consistency, clarity and efficiency.
  • Modifying the land use legislative application process to provide opportunities for input from the public and the Board of Supervisors earlier in the process. 
  • Revisions to current land uses to be consistent with new “place types” in the Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan.
  • Modifying parking ratios based on the different planning policy areas throughout the county. 
  • Introducing parking ratio minimums and maximums for specific land uses. This concept is new for Loudoun County and is designed to provide parking at an appropriate scale within the county.
  • Developing parking standards for bicycles, car-sharing, electric vehicles and motorcycle/scooters.
  • Adding parking standards that recognize the needs of small, pedestrian-scale, rural communities.

Areas still to be addressed in the rewrite process include attainable housing, lot and building standards, signs, landscaping and zoning processes and procedures.

Code Audit

As part of this project, a code audit was completed to evaluate the county’s approach to zoning; the audit, which can be found at loudoun.gov/zoningordinancerewrite, outlines alternatives and recommends changes to structure, organization and content. 

Input

The Zoning Ordinance Committee has served as a sounding board throughout the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite process. Input from the Board of Supervisors, advisory bodies, various departments, community and professional groups and the general public will also be factored into the final product.

Next Steps

The rewrite project, which kicked off in September 2019, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Next steps in the process include review and recommendations by the Planning Commission; a general public “open house” for review and comment; a 90-day public review period for the first draft; and, finally, adoption by the Board of Supervisors in late 2022.

More Information

For more information, including a link to sign up for updates on the process, visit loudoun.gov/zoningordinancerewrite.

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Aug 02

Project Update: August 2021

Posted on August 2, 2021 at 3:01 PM by MaryFrances Forcier

  • At its June 15, 2021 business meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved an extension of the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite timeline. 
  • The new schedule extends the project by six to eight months, enabling staff to more fully develop draft materials (including information that explains proposed changes)  prior to review by the ZOC and PC. 
  • The schedule now includes:
    • Providing the ROIA to Board of Supervisors for review & adoption (Fall 2021)
    • A general public open house (Early 2022)
    • Round Three Input: 90-day referral review (Early - Mid 2022)
    • Planning Commission review & recommendations (Late 2021 - Mid 2022)
    • Board of Supervisors review & adoption (Mid - Late 2022)
  • The Zoning Ordinance Committee (ZOC) continues to meet monthly, providing numerous comments on draft zoning text. 
  • The consultant has completed a code audit that evaluates the County’s approach to zoning, outlines alternatives, and recommends changes to structure, organization, and content. 
  • The consultant and staff built an online interactive Zoning platform that will allow the public to search the Zoning Ordinance via keyword or GIS map interface, guide users based on their interests and needs, and accept internal and public comments on proposed amendments. 
  • An early draft of the two major sections of the new ordinance has been drafted; use tables and parking standards. Draft use tables and parking standards are organized by policy area (Urban, Suburban, Transition, Rural) and list the zoning districts where each use is allowed by right, special exception or minor special exception, and the parking requirements for each use. Definitions for each use are also listed in the tables.
  • Round Two Public Input has provided the following feedback. To view a summary of input from focus groups by topic and a full list of 275 comments, please see the May 19, 2021, TLUC Item (PDF).
  1. General support for Code Audit recommendations 
  2. Positive reaction to enCodePlus, the online interactive platform for the county’s Zoning Ordinance(s), which is under development and will be linked from the county’s website. 
  3. Concerns about:
  4. Development process
  5. Code administration 
  6. Code structure 
  7. Development standards 
  8. Parking 
  9. Resource preservation (natural/historic)
  10. Zoning Districts
  11. Use regulations

Stay Informed About This Project

Contact Us

  • For questions about the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite project, email Planning and Zoning or call 703-777-0246.
Mar 08

Project Update: March 2021

Posted on March 8, 2021 at 4:12 PM by MaryFrances Forcier

Project Update: March 2021
Best Management Practices Research

As specified in the project plan, Kendig Keast Collaborative has completed to complete two Best Practices Assessments to inform the ZOR project:

Code Audit

The project also calls for a code audit, which evaluates the county’s code structure, districts, development standards, use regulations, and code administration process. The code audit, completed by WSP, includes recommended updates to the Zoning Ordinance that improve usability, modernize regulations, and implement the Loudoun County 2019 General Plan. 

Round Two Public Input

  • Between January and March, remote public input sessions have taken place with more than 30 community groups. 
  • Individuals are encouraged to participate in the public input process. 
  • To submit comments or questions:

Searchable Online Platform for Zoning Ordinances

  • Significant progress has been made in building an online interactive platform for the county’s Zoning Ordinance(s), which will be linked from the county’s website. The 1972, 1993, Revised 1993, and Route 28 Overlay Zoning Ordinances have been migrated into the cloud-based software, which supports collaborative drafting, archiving, and code publishing. 
  • The online platform will allow the public to search all county Zoning Ordinances via text or GIS map interface, guide users towards appropriate ordinance sections based on their interests, and provide a mechanism for internal and public comments on proposed Ordinance amendments.
  • The new platform is expected to be released in Summer 2021.