A project set to place affordable housing for seniors along Richmond Highway (Route 1) has cleared another hurdle.
At its final meeting of the year on Dec. 7, the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of a plan amendment to allow a six-story, 70,000-square-foot affordable, independent senior living facility with a “community-serving” ground floor at 6858 Richmond Highway.
The development will be next to the Beacon of Groveton apartment building and about a half block from the Beacon Center, a retail area with a Giant, Lowe’s, and other stores. It will be also about a half-mile from a Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit station, which could begin operating around 2030.
The roughly half-acre site in Groveton was previously approved for “office and retail uses” in 2004, per the staff report. Right now, it sits essentially undeveloped as an “interim park space” with a sign out front noting its availability.
The proposed plan amendment won’t change the previously approved density or height of any possible development, only the allowed use.
With this go-ahead from the planning commisision, the plans to build this affordable, senior living facility along Richmond Highway will now go to the Board of Supervisors. A public hearing is set for Jan. 24, 2023, with rezoning consideration likely not until May.
The facility is not expected to be open to residents until at least 2027.
The plans didn’t get much pushback from commissioners, who noted the need for more of this type of facility in the county.
“There’s a significant shortage of independent, senior, affordable [housing] throughout the county,” said At-Large Commissioner Candice Bennett. “For folks who are trying to stay in their community and near family…preserving enough options so folks can stay in their community, I think, is going to be important. I’m excited to see this plan amendment come forward.”
Mason District Commissioner Julie Strandlie recalled how important it was to her family to live nearby when her grandma, at 102 years old, needed a facility of this nature.
“It’s really important to have many of these types of facilities for families in as many communities as possible,” Strandlie said. “Because with traffic and the time commitment, it’s really difficult to get to that facility to see your loved one as often as one would like…I hope there will be more facilities like this throughout the county.”
However, during the public hearing, one member of the community shared concerns about building another development along the already congested Richmond Highway.
An area resident for three decades, the neighbor said he’s a caregiver for his elderly parents, and the traffic is so bad, he does not feel safe letting his dad walk along Richmond Highway in the evening.
It would be dangerous to build a senior living facility along the road because it’s not pedestrian-friendly, the neighbor stated.
Several commissioners agreed that Richmond Highway has a “very poor design,” as Franconia District Commissioner Dan Lagana put it.
“It’s treated like a highway by many people who drive it. I mean, it’s called Richmond Highway,” Lagana said. “The speed limit is 45 mph…It’s going to be lowered to 35. What effect that’s going to have…is a point of discussion, but you have long stretches of asphalt oceans with hard right turns. It’s fundamentally hostile to pedestrians.”
Still, county staff say the new development will actually reduce vehicle traffic on Route 1 more than the previous plan since it would not have retail.
“The proposed alternative would produce fewer weekday vehicle trips, overall (-1,371), and during the morning (AM) (-89) and evening (PM) peak hours, relative to the currently planned land uses,” the staff report said.
Additionally, while the plan amendment does allow the use, the actual development plans need to get separate approvals.
The commission expressed hope that the developer will add more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and safety “pieces” in accordance with county-wide best practices.
Image via Google Maps
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Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road