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Votes

Board Schedules Extra Meeting for Rural Area

The Board of Supervisors voted to table its vote on the Rural Policy Area after Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) brought new amendments to the proposed densities for the county's rural west. The board scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m.

Board members came prepared to vote on the Comprehensive Plan amendment and zoning ordinances, known as the Clem/Burton proposal, which would plan the growth in the rural west. The Clem/Burton proposal would restore a large amount of the 2003 zoning, which was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court in March 2005, was more restrictive and required lower densities than the current proposal. Following the court's decision, the Rural Policy Area reverted to A-3 zoning, which allows for one dwelling unit per three acres.

The proposal supports AR-1 zoning, which allows for one house per 10- or 20-acre lot, in the northern portion of western Loudoun, and AR-2 zoning, which allows for one house per 20- or 40-acre lot, in the southern portion.

Staton's amendments were what he considered a compromise, allowing cluster development at a density of one residential unit per five acres in the northern portion and cluster development in the southern portion that allows for one unit per 15 acres. In addition, Staton's proposal allowed for option for landowners to divide in either 10 or five acre parcels.

"What I believe is that by doing this today is this will work and finally put an end to this issue to rest once and for all," Staton said.

While Staton's amendments passed with a 5-4 vote, the final Comprehensive Plan amendment could be still be changed since Supervisors tabled the final vote. Supervisors Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge), Sally Kurtz (D-Catoctin), Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) and Chairman Scott K. York (I-At large) voted against Staton's amendments.

SUPERVISORS WHO voted against Staton's proposed changes did not feel the amendments were a true compromise.

"Essentially what this does is, we have left A-3 across the northern tier," Kurtz said. "You are saying it's to be clustered so you get some smaller lots and more open space, but the density is the equivalent of A-3 density, make no mistake about it."

Other supervisors were concerned about the late date of the amendments and believed they should be put through the public process before being voted on.

"I can assure you that there will be lawyers out there that will argue this is different than what was advertised," Burton said. "I think if we adopt Staton's proposal we jeopardize the entire effort."

Staton said, howver, that he board could vote to amend the Clem/Burton proposal as it came to them without having to send it back to a public hearing.

"The board is not prohibited in amending an ordinance," he said.

<1b>— Erika Jacobson