Taking Care of History

Taking Care of History

Supervisors adopt county Heritage Preservation Plan.

Passing the county Heritage Preservation Plan gives historic, environmental and scenic resources "status," said Supervisor Charles Harris (D-Broad Run).

"You have to consider those elements of land when you lay out where roads, houses and businesses will be," Harris said. "You may develop anyway, but at least it's called to your attention."

The Heritage Preservation Plan, which the Board of Supervisors adopted at the Dec. 15 board meeting, outlines ways to identify, preserve and promote the county's heritage resources and establishes guidelines for protecting those resources during development project reviews. So far, planning staff have identified and inventoried 950 historic structures in the county .

"There's a lot of history in Loudoun County that we can capitalize on for education and for tourism," said William Bogard (I-Sugarland Run). "Tourism is good for us. We don't wind up having to provide a whole lot of infrastructure for tourists, but we do get tax dollars."

THE HERITAGE Preservation Plan supports heritage tourism and economic development by drawing visitors to the county's historic and rural settings, according to county staff. The plan as approved will be implemented in phases. The first phase will use existing resources of the county by:

* Creating a Heritage Commission to bring experience and expertise to heritage issues.

* Tasking the Historic District Review Committee, which has staff from the departments of planning and of building and development, with aligning historic district boundaries.

* Tasking building and development staff to manage any associated rezonings.

* Establishing a county stewardship program that outlines the county's approach to acquiring, managing and disposing of property and focuses on protecting and using heritage resources.

* Expanding the Heritage Register program, which recognizes property owners with properties of significant cultural value.

"We need to establish some standards and put people in the direction of resources and sources of information when they are doing preservation and restoration projects," Bogard said. "It forces us to look at the issue."

"Unless that information is available, you plan out of ignorance of the historic resources on a site. It doesn't mean you have to preserve them all," Harris said. "It provides another set of data to take into consideration when you make land use decisions."

THE BOARD APPROVED a motion to adopt the plan with an 8-1 vote with supervisor Eugene Delgaudio voting against. The motion also gives the county authorization to participate in the Virginia 2007 Community Program when the state will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. Leesburg, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary during the same time period, is designated as one of 20 "Come Home to Virginia" sites for commemorative programming, statewide promotional opportunities and possible grants. To be a "Come Home to Virginia" site, the locality is required to plan special events.

To receive designation as an official Virginia 2007 Community, localities are required to examine and promote their history and develop community projects to be completed by 2007.

Jack Shockey, president of Citizens for Property Rights, asked the board to postpone voting on the motion for the Heritage Preservation Plan and the Virginia 2007 Community Program. "There has been no real analysis done on this document in regards to the cost to administer or the effect on private property rights," he said, adding, "Another new program is not needed at this time."

"This will be overturned by the new board. This is one of those ... environmentalist welfare programs which involve the involuntary surrender of basic privacy and rights to civil order that is the signature of this Smart Growth board," Delgaudio said, adding that he thinks the plan will require extensive funding. "It's not a good thing to pass plans that are so invasive."

IN OTHER BUSINESS, the Board of Supervisors:

* Approved Comstock Loudoun Station, LC's application to rezone 43.2 acres of Loudoun Station to the Planned Development-Transit Related Center (PD-TRC) zoning district. Comstock Loudoun Station plans to develop a 1,500-unit mixed-use urban development near the proposed rail station at Route 772.

"It brings a lot of amenities to the area," said Mark Herring (D-Leesburg). "People will have the opportunity to live and work in the same area."

"What we're going to have here is the ability to have a Reston-type town center," said Drew Hiatt (R-Dulles).

* Approved Loudoun Croson, LLC's application to rezone 50.4 acres to the Planned Development-Housing (PD-H3) zoning district. Loudoun Croson plans to build up to 80 single-family detached and 65 single-family attached units in Amberleigh west of Ryan Road at Croson Lane.

* Approved naming the proposed Tri-County Parkway from Braddock Road to the county line in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The section from Braddock Road to Route 7 will continue as Loudoun County Parkway, a name it received in September 1998 by the former Board of Supervisors.

The current board requested the Black History Committee, a subcommittee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library, identify a road with historical significance to the African-American community to be named in honor of King.

The naming of the sections outside the county in Fairfax and Prince William counties will have to be addressed by the respective boards of supervisors.

AT THE END of the meeting, chairman Scott York (R-At large) gave his 2003 End of the Year Address. He reflected on the board's and county's accomplishments during the board's four-year term from 2000-03, specifically in land use, transportation, economic development and budgeting. He individually thanked the board members for their contributions.

"With land use we have made significant progress in addressing the fiscal and transportation ills that accompany over-development," York said.

The text of York's address is on page 14.