Middleburg is perhaps the most picturesque town in Virginia. With a mix of history, natural beauty, and small-town charm, the town is a popular attraction and threatened by its own popularity.
With its roots in the American Revolution, Middleburg was once a wagon road stopover and trading center for Loudoun County, but in the early 20th century became the center of equestrian sports in Virginia, and an attractive weekend getaway from nearby Washington DC. Now, increasing suburbanization of eastern Loudoun County brings development pressure ever closer to the town, and fuels even greater growth in tourism. While the town's economy benefits greatly from the tourists who visit to enjoy the scenic and historic ambiance of the Middleburg area, this same attractiveness draws more attention to the desirability of living here. If development destroys the town's scenic and historic resources, Middleburg will also lose its attractiveness as a tourist destination.
The Berkley Group is working now on a Comprehensive Plan update for the town. Required of all Virginia jurisdictions, the community vision and long-range land use strategy of the Comprehensive Plan are especially critical in the protection of Middleburg’s character, and in planning for its future.
The Comprehensive Plan program has begun with a variety of public education and input aimed at ensuring a vision for Middleburg that is both realistic, and embraced by citizens. Public input has included two community workshops to date, an online community survey, and one-on-one meetings with important Middleburg stakeholders.
A major focus of Middleburg’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan is the redevelopment of Federal Street, a parallel route to the town’s main shopping area on Washington Street. Federal Street, in contrast, has been home to service uses and small industries, but may one day be an equal to Washington Street in shopping, dining, arts, and tourism. To accomplish this, Middleburg must confront transportation, utility, parking, and other challenges.
The Berkley Group’s work with the Town of Middleburg will continue through mid-2018.