Letter to the Editor, published in Loudoun Now, November 4, 2022
Editor: The current Loudoun Zoning Ordinance does not adequately protect our mountain resources from over-development.
Following careful analysis of the draft ordinance, which was circulated for public comment in the spring/summer of 2022, we have four major concerns:
• Inadequate Definition – The definition of the Mountain Overlay District must be broadened to include the whole contiguous mountain area, from base to summit.
• Too Many Permitted Uses – Many of the permitted uses could cause significant parking, noise, lighting, and waste disposal issues in sensitive mountain environments. It is especially important that such negative impacts are considered when determining “by right” uses.
• Development and Performance Standards – Additional environmental standards or considerations are needed to evaluate proposed development in the mountains and protect their natural resources.
• Zoning Enforcement – The established processes for enforcing the zoning ordinance in the mountains are weak and penalties for violations substandard. The penalties associated with violating the zoning ordinance should be sufficient to act as a deterrent. Furthermore, in cases of serious environmental damage the violator must be required to return the land to its original condition (prior to the violation).
During the public review process that concluded on July 18, our organizations and members, as well as many independent Loudoun County residents, submitted detailed comments echoing these concerns through the formal comment process established by the County.
With this letter we want to again reiterate our concerns and express our strong hope that the next version of the Zoning Ordinance will provide adequate zoning protections for our irreplaceable natural assets. Also, many thanks to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and County staff for their continued work on this challenging and lengthy rewrite process.
Peter Weeks, President, Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC)
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy
Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area
Blue Ridge Mountains Civic Association
Save Rural Loudoun
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