On Tuesday, February 15th, the Board of Supervisors started working through a matrix of 42 issues to determine the final version of the proposed Loudoun stream protections known as the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance (CBPO). When the Board is finished, County staff will revise the draft based on the Board decisions and advertise it before the final decision to adopt.
In its first vote (9-0), the Board chose to eliminate the “yellow map,” the draft screening tool which was misconstrued by opponents to raise fear about the impacts on residents without a perennial stream nearby. Eliminating this widely misunderstood map takes away the fear of uncertainty that many who do not live by a perennial stream have had. The Board action demonstrates a strong commitment to answering homeowner concerns.
In other good news, the Board voted to provide key exemptions for homeowners whose lots contain the 100 ft stream buffer area known as RPA. These few homeowners (1,675 out of over 80,000 across the entire county) now have a cumulative exemption for up to 150 square feet of structures (e.g. sheds), located within the 100 ft buffer area. In addition, Supervisors voted to exempt playsets up to 500 square feet in the RPA area, while clearly defining what constitutes a playset. Fences are already exempt when constructed in the usual fashion with a space below the bottom edge.
The Board has made it clear that even when a homeowner has stream buffer on his or her lot, the County will not require any new action or new fees to permit installation of a playset, fence, shed, dog house or other small homeowner improvement. The CBPO already allows residents to garden and mow as they have done previously without governmental interference.
Residents undoubtedly welcome the steps Supervisors have taken to eliminate uncertainty, burden and cost.
The Board discussed the first twelve items in the matrix and voted on nine. On March 1st they are expected to continue their progress.