On June 20, 2019, Loudoun County, Virginia’s governing body (the Board of Supervisors) approved the first Comprehensive Plan in 18 years for that that burgeoning, outer suburb of Washington, DC. The amount of new housing that should be planned for was among the chief sources of debate during the 3½-year planning process, which included more than 100 public meetings. However, the final Plan (which covers the period to 2040) appears fundamentally consistent with the expanded housing demand forecasts by the County’s Planning Commission and planning staff, as well as outside experts—including EHI.

According to those forecasts, the county will need much more new housing than previously envisioned, in order to balance the tremendous job growth there by 2040. Loudoun anticipates about 110,000 new jobs by then—almost a two-thirds increase from 2015.

To balance that job growth, about 73,300 new housing units would be needed by 2040, based on the commonly-used standard of one suitable housing unit for approximately 1.5 jobs in the community. However, the county’s official housing forecast had been for only 45,800 new housing units—about 62.5 percent of that amount.

Failure to balance Loudoun’s enormous job growth with enough housing growth would lead to problems such as increased traffic congestion, development sprawl, loss of open space, housing price escalation, residents living in poverty, and perhaps even more homelessness—in Loudoun County and the Washington, DC, region.

Under Loudoun’s new Comprehensive Plan, the new housing will be concentrated in the urbanizing Eastern end of the county, near Dulles International Airport and the county’s two future Metrorail (commuter rail) stations. A substantial portion of that housing will be affordable to low- and moderate-income people, under Loudoun County policies.

Loudoun’s comprehensive planning process was spearheaded by first-term Board Chair Phyllis Randall. The county’s Planning Commission came out strongly for meeting housing needs, in its Draft Comprehensive Plan transmitted to the Board in March.

EHI has been involved in Loudoun’s housing planning for four years. EHI’s in-depth report on Loudoun’s Metrorail-related housing needs was submitted to the members of the current County Board at the beginning of their terms, in January 2016. EHI’s President, Tom Loftus, has been a member of the Loudoun County Housing Advisory Board since 2017.

EHI submitted written comments to the Board as part of the public hearing in April 2019. To read them, please click on EHI COMMENTS TO LOUDOUN BOARD ON 2019 COMP PLAN. To read EHI’s previous report mentioned above, please click on LOUDOUN’S METRORAIL-RELATED HOUSING NEEDS (2015). For further background, please click on EHI's other Loudoun articles, such as LOUDOUN COMP PLAN HOUSING ISSUES (Dec. 2018).