The 1990s saw a dramatic shift in the landscape of Loudoun County, Virginia, as suburbanization spread westward. This growth was so rapid that the population of the county doubled in size, and its geography made it more than half rural. Of its 333,558 acres, 200,000 are predominantly pastoral. The county is currently in the process of adopting a new comprehensive plan as part of its Envision Loudoun initiative.
According to the latest state statistics, Loudoun County had the highest median income per tax return of any Virginia county in 1998. Additionally, at least six Asian Americans from South Asia ran for state and local office in Tuesday's election, with mixed success. Rural areas are particularly vulnerable to the current development gold rush, as new neighborhoods, proposed mini-cities and highways bring more people, vehicles and congestion to Loudoun County. The county's current approach to growth will either support its commitment to its rural roots or encourage continued westward expansion. Recently, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors expanded commercial activities in rural areas of the county. Counties closest to the country's capital have seen growth similar to that of an excavator, while relatively rural counties beyond this radius simply haven't had the infrastructure necessary to meet the voracious demand for housing. One of their next goals was the Loudoun County master plan, which group members viewed as an open invitation to expansion. The American Community Survey classifies Loudoun as 12.6 percent rural counties, much more than Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties which are almost completely urban.
However, in an extraordinary change, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is ready to approve on Monday what could be the most ambitious set of development controls imposed on suburban Washington. East Loudoun residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of the county's supervisors in favor of growth, a mentality that continues to dominate the board today. The national association has taken the fight against Loudoun seriously enough to send a video to each of its 1600 local associations advising them to be attentive to slow-growing movements, such as Loudoun's. The county has more than 54,000 acres in permanent conservation easements, in addition to more than 11,400 acres of parks and other public conservation areas which together represent approximately 20 percent of the county's land area. The suburbanization that has transformed Loudoun County since the 1980s has been a controversial topic for decades. It has had a significant impact on the region and will continue to shape its future for years to come. The impact of suburbanization on Loudoun County is far-reaching and complex.
It has changed the landscape of the region both physically and economically. It has also had an effect on local politics and social dynamics. The county is currently in the process of adopting a new comprehensive plan as part of its Envision Loudoun initiative which seeks to balance growth with preservation of rural areas. The American Community Survey classifies Loudoun as 12.6 percent rural counties, much more than Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties which are almost completely urban.
East Loudoun residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of the county's supervisors in favor of growth, a mentality that continues to dominate the board today. The county has taken steps to protect its rural areas by expanding commercial activities in rural areas and by setting aside more than 54,000 acres in permanent conservation easements. However, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be enough to protect these areas from further development or if they will succumb to continued westward expansion. It is clear that suburbanization has had a profound impact on Loudoun County over the past few decades and will continue to shape its future for years to come. It is important for residents and local officials alike to be aware of this impact and take steps to ensure that growth is balanced with preservation.