Sixty years ago, Fauquier and Loudoun County were similar in several respects: Loudoun, our neighbor to the north west, had a population of 21,147 living on 521 square miles; Fauquier ’s population was about 22,000 living on 651 square miles. Both counties were regularly listed in the top ten of the most agriculturally productive of Virginia’s 95 counties. Today Loudoun has 72,000 acres under easement to Fauquier’s 107,070.
Loudoun, being a little bit closer to Washington, began to protect its agricultural lands before Fauquier. (The Piedmont Environmental Council came to Fauquier from Loudoun.)
Everything changed for Loudon when it decided to let the eastern side of the county, starting with Sterling Park, develop at an unsustainable pace. By 2018, Loudoun’s population had grown to 374,000 and there were only 33 counties in the U.S with higher real estate taxes (in spite of Loudoun’s having attracted WorldCom and 75 data centers.) Fauquier’ population is 69,528. A recent George Mason University study has predicted that Loudoun faces a severe housing shortage under its present housing and planning policies. “County planners see the need for 64,000 additional housing units over the next 20 years,” according to Blue Ridge Leader Today.
Sixty years ago, Fauquier, along with all other rural counties located near cities were “flying blind,” because of the mass exodus from the cities after World War II which had never happened before. Thanks to wise leaders, Fauquier County weathered the storm with its rural land still intact.