The Zoning Ordinance Should Clearly Define the Boundaries of the MOD
The current draft of the Loudoun County zoning ordinance (January 2023) states that
“the MOD is defined by the presence of certain natural features such as elevation, forests, steep slopes, unstable soils, and groundwater recharge areas that are commonly associated with these areas and features, as shown on the MOD map” (Section 5.04.B.1.).
The ordinance does not provide information as to how these various features are measured or are used in combination to actually draw the MOD map. The ordinance does not answer such basic questions as how steep a slope defines the MOD; what elevation defines the MOD, what is the measure of unstable soil and how is it used in combination with groundwater recharge area to define the MOD.
Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains and other environmental/conservation organizations propose that the ordinance must include a clearer and more useful definition of the MOD.
- ¨ The zoning ordinance should be revised to define the MOD geographically.
- ¨ There should be only one MOD that includes the entirety of any mountain.
- ¨ The MOD’s boundary should be defined to follow around the base of the mountain
- ¨ The entirety of the elevated terrain above that boundary should be included in the MDOD.
- ¨ Friends recommends that a mountain’s base be defined as that encompassing line where the surface slope at a mountain’s base first exceeds 8%. [Generally, this 8% slope boundary can be obtained from USDA topographical maps.]
This definition will result in a clearly defined, contiguous MDOD that overlies the entire mountain region, above where the flat or undulating land at its base first steepens to form the elevated mountainous terrain.
At this time – 26-2023—Friends does not have a map illustrating this definition. However we are trying to obtain such a map.