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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Gridlock and homelessness top residents’ concerns as growth soars in Leesburg

Gridlock on roadways and at supermarkets as well as increasing homelessness were among the top concerns expressed by residents as Leesburg leaders sought input as they look to a future that will be shaped by soaring growth.

Leesburg officials are in the process of updating the city’s comprehensive plan, which was last revised in 2012. As part of the process, the city has partnered with the consulting firm of Calvin, Giordano & Associates to gather input from residents to update the comprehensive plan.

The director of the city’s Planning and Zoning Department, Dan Miller, and his team, along with the consultants, held a meeting with local residents Saturday morning at the Leesburg Resource Center.

Planning and Zoning Department Director Dan Miller provided an overview for residents at Saturday's meeting
Planning and Zoning Department Director Dan Miller provided an overview for residents at Saturday’s meeting.

Miller explained to the 32 residents and city officials in the audience that the comprehensive plan has been a keystone of a municipal land use planning. The revised plan will provide a framework for how land use in the city should occur over the next 10 to 20 years.

The consultants gave each audience member a detailed community survey as well as a scan code so they could answer the survey questions using their cell phones with their input displayed in real time on a large screen at the front of the room. The consultants had also placed several maps around the room to which the audience could attach notes explaining their suggestions for future use.

Input was gathered from residents at Saturday's meeting
Input was gathered from residents at Saturday’s meeting.

Most of the suggestions had to do with regulating the explosive growth which Leesburg has been experiencing since the last comprehensive plan was updated.

Concerns were expressed regarding the increased traffic on local roads and demands on the water supply.

Leesburg resident Dee Holiday said that her local Publix grocery store has been “swamped by all the new residents.” She also expressed concerns about the lack of infrastructure that The Villages has put in place as they have built 3,500 new homes in Leesburg.

Stu Kaplan of The Plantation development said that he thought the biggest problem that Leesburg has is the increased homeless population. Kaplan has lived in Leesburg for 17 years and has seen an increased need for affordable housing.

Arlington Ridge resident Cynthia Johnson also expressed concerns regarding the road grid as U.S. Hwy. 27 is the only access point from her community.

“People are coming here in droves and the infrastructure is not keeping pace with the growth,” she said.

Residents can give their input regarding the Comprehensive Plan at https://cgasolutions.com/.

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