WASHINGTON — Loudoun County residents can weigh in Wednesday night on plans to change voting precincts to shorten wait times and new rules for pawnbrokers and scrap metal dealers, as well as zoning changes that would allow more home-based businesses.
The County Board’s public hearing, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Loudoun County Government Center, will also include what could be a contentious discussion about a proposed development on either side of Route 606 in Sterling, just across Route 28 and the Dulles Toll Road from Dulles Airport.
While the Planning Commission voted 8-0-1 to recommend that the project be approved, county staff are recommending that the board only approve the rezoning for a portion of the project along the north side of Route 606, because of issues with the Route 28 development plan.
A separate item on Wednesday’s agenda covers zoning changes that could allow more construction at the new Commonwealth Center in Ashburn near Route 7 and the Loudoun County Parkway at the northern end of Route 28. However, county staff recommend that the board hold off on acting on that change, which was only approved by the Planning Commission on a 5-3-1 vote, until more details are worked out.
A separate zoning change for home-based businesses would, for the first time, allow such businesses in every part of the county as long as the business does not cause much extra car traffic in and out of the neighborhood.
Loudoun County Registrar Judy Brown says the precinct changes are proposed for this fall’s election for offices such as the General Assembly, Board of Supervisors and sheriff. The county tries not to change polling places in presidential election years.
“What we’re tasked with is ensuring that no voter has to wait more than 30 minutes in line. One of the things that does contribute to the long lines is the size of the precinct,” Brown told the board when she presented the proposal in May.
The changes would add eight new precincts across the Dulles, Broad Run, Blue Ridge and Catoctin districts, along with a handful of separate polling location changes.
The new rules for pawnbrokers were proposed by Sheriff Mike Chapman to help investigators recover stolen goods that thieves attempt to unload.
The rules would require pawnshops to keep records of sales for two years, including digital photos of each item. The rules would also require scrap-metal dealers to record the license plate information of anyone they buy from. Information about what the dealers have bought in the last day would then have to be delivered to the sheriff’s office.
The rules would also for the first time limit the number of pawnshops in Loudoun County to eight at any given time. That total would include any pawnshops in Loudoun’s towns.