Loudoun’s Housing & Transportation Needs
The supply, diversity and availability of housing options for Loudoun’s workforce – particularly those in the public sector, service and hospitality industries and at the earliest career stages – will drive the success of our County’s transportation and economic development strategies.
There is no doubt: Loudoun is suffering from a housing affordability crisis that is hurting the youngest and less wealthy members of our workforce. Estimates are that 30% of all Loudoun households are “cost burdened,” spending more than 30% of their income on housing. Limited housing supply is making this situation worse by driving up costs.
The County’s own analysis shows that by the year 2040, Loudoun’s current plans would leave the County 19,000 housing units short to serve our workforce needs.
The County must make housing diversity and affordability a top priority. Loudoun needs a County Housing Plan to address need for market rate, workforce housing, and further invest in Housing Fund to support local projects to serve younger and low-income workers.
Loudoun needs a housing strategy that supports our children. After investing millions in public education, we need housing that will allow our students and our investment in their education to remain here in Loudoun. Government led solutions are needed, and so are private sector solutions that can be leveraged through better land-use and zoning policies/incentives.
Transition Policy Area:
The limited amount of developable space in the urban and suburban areas demands new and more thoughtful approaches in the Transition Policy Areas. With the right strategies and safeguards, Loudoun is quite capable of adding a reasonable and limited amount of desperately needed housing units in the transition area, while protecting our rural policy area from the impacts of suburban development. That is why the Chamber supports the proposed strategy to target specific areas of the TPA for higher density residential and mixed-use development that create affordable and diverse housing options in compact communities.
Appropriate land use planning must take place in Loudoun County to maximize the opportunities for development for housing and commercial use.
Businesses and economies need the right conditions to grow. Loudoun’s land use policies must allow for creative, flexible and market-aware thinking that is needed to create great places and communities where businesses and employees want to be located.
Urban Policy Areas: The Chamber is strongly supportive of the proposed Urban Policy Areas that take advantage of transit-oriented, mixed-use development principles around Metrorail stations and other transportation assets. Compact urban style development at future Metrorail stations and at other transit-accessible locations support the County’s economic development objectives, particularly if these areas are designed to provide a diverse choice housing types and sizes for workers and residents with varying income levels. Urban-style activity centers can also help reduce automobile use when they incorporate safe transit, pedestrian and bicycle options.
Flexibility: The Chamber also supports the plan’s call for the more creative, flexible and market-aware thinking that is needed to create great places and communities where businesses and employees want to locate. A flexible, market-aware approach should include streamlined land use approval processes to allow for flexible and timely responses to evolving market conditions and technological innovation.
Housing: Loudoun’s land use policies must work to expand housing choices for the entire workforce and to make it easier for businesses to locate, operate, and grow in our County. We must provide a full spectrum of housing and employment options to support commercial, entertainment, educational, agricultural, and recreational activity.
Loudoun County is attracting new jobs, residents and commercial investment because this is a world class community in which to live and do business. This growth does challenge Loudoun’s existing our infrastructure. Loudoun needs a transportation network supportive of the County’s vision to support economic development, create vibrant, safe communities and public spaces, and protect natural resources.
Because Loudoun’s economy depends on our businesses having access to a workforce, customers and suppliers, the Envision Loudoun plan must begin to address the constant gridlock on Routes 15, 9 and 50, while envisioning new connections to Maryland and Prince William.
Within Loudoun, our community’s investment in Metro’s Silver Line must be supported with improved roadway access to our new train stations, as well as other top employment and activity centers, including Dulles Airport.