News

Independent living facility near Seven Corners wins planning commission’s support, despite runoff concerns

First Christian Church and Wesley Housing have proposed building an independent living facility in Seven Corners (via Fairfax County)

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of plans for a 113-unit independent living facility in Seven Corners.

The vote, which included one abstention at the Feb. 8 meeting, sends the proposal from First Christian Church and developer Wesley Housing to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a public hearing on Feb. 21.

Mason District Commissioner Daren Shumate said that the county worked with neighboring residents to tackle two major contentious issues involving the project: increased stormwater runoff in a problematic area and the scale of the project at 6165 Leesburg Pike.

The 7-acre parcel is currently developed with a nearly 27,500-square-foot church.

Aaron Vinson, a civil engineer with Walter L. Phillips, Inc., said the applicant worked to divert runoff away from Ravenwood Park in response to concerns from neighbors and residents about increased stormwater runoff in an area that already floods routinely.

He said the applicant’s stormwater runoff plan diverts runoff towards a “better functioning pipe system.”

Shumate also noted that the actual facade of the building facing a residential parcel is three stories.

“The intent of matching the look and feel of the neighborhood has been met,” Shumate said.

Despite giving the project its support, the commission cautioned that the county should continue to examine stormwater runoff in the area.

Franconia District Commissioner Daniel Lagana said the Virginia Department of Transportation is undertaking a study of the area in response to community concerns. At a public hearing on Feb. 1, residents described what Lagana said were serious concerns.

Shumate said the county is working with residents on the issue. Specifically, the county has given one resident sandbags to manage stormwater runoff near their home.

“The county needs to be very cognizant of these stormwater issues,” he said, adding that the sandbag step was only a temporary solution to what appears to be a bigger problem.

Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina said that the commission did recommend language for a Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan amendment that better managed stormwater runoff in the area — but the suggestion was not ultimately adopted by the Board of Supervisors.

“As a commission, we heard the residents,” Cortina said. “…We have to keep our eye on the ball with stormwater definitely.”