Gutting the comprehensive plan in Loudoun

A source deep within the Loudoun government reports this morning that the new very developer-friendly board of supervisors will soon introduce a motion of Intent to Amend the county zoning ordinance.

We no doubt will have another one of those snappy 9–0 votes to approve with no debate.

This would open up the entire county comprehensive plan document to revision—something that at least some of the GOP candidates swore they would not do during the campaign.

Geary “the stinkbug slayer” Higgins (R-Catoctin) was one of them. In addition to vowing to marshal the vast entomological expertise of the entire Loudoun County government to vanquish the stinkbug menace that has so far confounded the combined efforts of the USDA, the agrochemical industry, and the nation’s leading research universities, Higgins in his campaign stated in one of his many glossy mailings that he “supports the current comprehensive plan”—even implying in the mailing that his Democratic opponent did not, and that he Geary was the true preservationist and defender of Loudoun’s “pristine” rural areas.

It will be interesting to see how long Higgins’s campaign promises turn out to be good for. Four weeks?

The Intent to Amend will reportedly also reestablish the “ZORC,” the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee, a much-abused mechanism that offered developers behind-the-scenes exemptions and loopholes to the stated zoning rules. The ZORC was abolished precisely because it made a mockery of the whole zoning process and rules.

This will all again no doubt be presented by the board as a mere exercise in technical correction, “streamlining” the approval process, and making Loudoun more “business friendly.” In fact it’s another huge payoff to the developers who put this board in office, a betrayal of the trust of the citizens, and a clear message that money talks.

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