Loudoun Launches Plain-Language Guides for Starting a Rural Business

rural uses start your rural business

Loudoun County, Virginia, is home to more than 1,000 farms and hundreds of thriving rural businesses, and Loudoun Economic Development is proud to announce that starting an agriculture-based business has become even easier with the release of a series of new guides to starting a rural business.

From equestrian to overnight lodging, craft beverages to farm markets, there are 18 separate rural business types defined in the Revised 1993 Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance. Through a collaborative, cross-departmental process, Loudoun County Government has created easy-to-understand documents, translating the zoning code language into layman’s terms. Guides for each approved rural use are now available on LoudounRuralBiz.org.

“This resource was requested by the business community in order to simplify technical language and help navigate county and commonwealth regulations. After a months-long process, with input from every county department and the Rural Economic Development Council, we have clear, step-by-step guides for opening a rural business,” said Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “Cutting through red tape is a critical way that we make business success #LoudounPossible.”

Guides for each of the 18 business types are formatted to ask questions of the prospective business owner at different points in the startup process. If the answer to any question is affirmative or unsure, entrepreneurs are urged to contact a specific department for clarification.

According to the most recent USDA Agriculture Census, there are more than 1,200 farms in Loudoun County. Most farms support multiple businesses, each with specific, and sometimes conflicting, regulations. These rural business guides are designed to help business owners to see the big picture and plan ahead for future growth.

“This is the first time we have offered this depth of information, clearly defined, for each of our rural business types,” said Business Development Officer of Agriculture and Business Services John Magistro. “You shouldn’t have to be a zoning or permit expert in order to start your business. These guides reduce the guesswork and get you closer to a grand opening.”

Contact information for each county and state department is subject to change over time and will be updated regularly on the website. Paper versions of the documents are also available at each of the county departments where entrepreneurs might turn for assistance.

For more information on starting a business in Loudoun’s rural policy area, please visit LoudounRuralBiz.org.


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