Growth Concerns – Take Two

The results from Loudoun County’s 2016 Annual Resident Survey – conducted by the Center for Survey Research at the University of Virginia – was presented to the Board of Supervisors in early February. The survey gathers demographic information, evaluates citizen satisfaction with County services, and solicits citizen opinions on a variety of issues facing the County.

The survey is revealing.

It is here citizens share what attracts them about Loudoun County by answering the question: What single thing do you like best about Loudoun County? And, it is here that citizens share their concerns about what their future will look like, answering the question: What is the single biggest problem facing Loudoun County?

The answers to both questions show that the concern residents have about growth – also reflected in the County’s current Envision Loudoun process – is deep.

Some 17.9 percent of survey respondents said that the single thing they value most about Loudoun is its location/proximity to shopping/a major city, followed closely by the quality of schools (16.3 percent), and rural/open/country (14.8 percent).

When asked to identify the single biggest problem facing Loudoun County, over 36 percent – more than one-third – said that the problem is growth and development – “too much, too fast, not planned well.” A close second to that, at 32.5 percent, was traffic, followed by other things commonly associated with growth and development, including over-crowded schools, and road-maintenance issues.

Interestingly, taxes (too high, tax on wrong things) were identified by fewer than five percent of people as the County’s biggest problem, despite the increasingly clear connection between growth and higher tax rates.