Opposing factions in a bitter debate over how to guide development around the historic Waterford village will have at least another week to seek a compromise after the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors delayed action yesterday on a plan recommending new limits on growth.
In a unanimous vote, the supervisors delayed until their Oct. 19 meeting a scheduled vote on the Waterford Area Management Plan, which has put land preservationists at odds with farmers around the picturesque western Loudoun community.
The supervisors gave the clashing citizens until Friday to iron out their differences with recommended changes in the Waterford plan, despite warnings from some county officials that their differences are probably so basic as to be irreconcilable.
The board's deferral came after a discussion with a National Park Service official, who said the village's listing as a national historic landmark with the Interior Department could be jeopardized by new growth. The official, Gary Hume, said it was impossible to know precisely how much development would strip the village of its listing, which is seen as a mark of prestige and which preservationists say is a boon to the village's tourism.
Hume said the status of historic places is reviewed annually, and is based partly on aesthetic standards that he couldn't evaluate without specific building proposals.
The Waterford document, which would become part of the county's comprehensive plan for future land-use decisions, lists several options for protecting the village's natural setting, including downzoning nearby farm land and greatly expanding an architectural review district in which a county-appointed committee evaluates new buildings for their historic character.
Even if the board votes to endorse the Waterford plan, implementing a downzoning or any of the document's other suggestions would require separate actions by the supervisors.