Thanks to a Board of Supervisors elected in 1999 that basically bent over backwards to let any and all growth come to Loudoun County, Va., this formerly rural county on the fringe of Washington, DC quickly become one of the fastest growing counties in America. But the growth came with a great cost as poorly planned new subdivisions and shopping centers resulted in overwhelmed roads, schools, and basic infrastructure that was neglected in the rush to build.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth has been on the forefront of advocating for more sensible growth that doesn’t mortgage the future of the county against having some rapid growth now. They helped advocate for the issues in 2005 when Democratic Governor Tim Kaine was swept into office by frustrated Republicans in Loudoun and Northern Virginia who were tired of the traffic-choked status quo of sprawl. Executive Director Stewart Schwartz shared with us some exciting results from yesterday’s elections:
“Loudoun County voted overwhelmingly for smarter growth candidates (8 out of 9 seats). Loudoun is the site of some of our extensive efforts in rural land conservation and the rural economy and where we won a 2001 Comprehensive Plan for sustainable growth and better design of the suburban areas. Meanwhile, in the 1.1 million-person middle-suburb of Fairfax County, Chairman Connolly, who has been very strong on TOD [transit-oriented development], affordable housing, energy and global warming, was reelected along with other key incumbents who have supported strong transit-oriented development policies. It showed that the backlash from some residents over the amount of growth near transit, is actually very limited in scope.
These results reinforce the message we have been communicating through our ‘Blueprint for a Better Region,’ www.betterregion.org and in our fight against the sales tax for road projects in 2002 that a regional system of TOD, urban revitalization and mixed-use new urbanist communities should be the pattern of development for our future (reinforced by energy and global warming issues).”
– Visit the Coalition for Smarter Growth on the web
– Read a take on the election from Democracy Arsenal
– And as a follow-up, check out this op-ed from the Washington Post urging a moderate course