Slow Growth Sees Rapid Setback in Virginia County

The vote took place yesterday in Loudoun County, Va., but the outcome was a blow to smart-growth advocates around the nation. Four years ago, voters propelled slow-growth advocates into eight out of nine county board positions, turning Loudoun into a national model of environmentally friendly urban planning. But yesterday’s elections reshuffled the board dramatically, with Republicans winning six out of eight seats, thanks in large part to heavy backing and hundreds of thousands of dollars from real-estate and construction interests. The new board members have vowed to relax or reverse many restrictions on development. But there were a few glimpses of silver lining: Scott York, chair of the board and leader of the slow-growth movement, defeated his Republican challenger — and in nearby Prince William County, slow-growth advocates swept the county board by a landslide.