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Reston nonprofit proposes housing for low-income adults near Fairfax Towne Center

Cornerstones Housing Corporation has proposed a 34-unit, all-affordable residential building near Fairfax Towne Center (via DCS Design/Fairfax County)

In the future, currently undeveloped land on Route 50 across from Fairfax Towne Center could host housing for adults at the low end of Fairfax County’s income spectrum.

The Reston-based nonprofit Cornerstones Housing Corporation (CHC) has partnered with the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA), which owns the 1.1-acre property, to potentially build a three-story, 34-unit residential building at 12116 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway.

The housing and accompanying supportive services will be specifically designed to serve single adults who have very low or extremely low incomes, which ranges from under 50% of the area median income (AMI) to under 30%, says a rezoning application submitted to the county on Feb. 24.

“The Applicant will provide not only housing, but a comprehensive, holistic program to help low-income individuals regain self-sufficiency,” the developer’s legal agent, Lynn Strobel, wrote in the application, which says the project will help “a demographic not currently served by many affordable housing providers.”

The proposal has been in the works for over a year now, ever since CHC sent the county an unsolicited proposal for a development called Fair Ridge at West Ox.

According to the application, the nonprofit and FCRHA signed an interim agreement for the project on Dec. 22. At a Feb. 22, 2022 board meeting, Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith, who represents the area, then requested that the county consider amending its comprehensive plan to allow affordable housing on the property.

If the amendment is approved, the site’s permitted density would increase from two to 35 dwelling units per acre. It’s being reviewed by county staff concurrently with the zoning application, which would have a density of about 29 units per acre.

The development arm of Cornerstones, which also provides emergency shelter, basic needs assistance and other services, CHC owns 47 townhouses and 11 condominiums in Reston, Herndon and Centreville, all rented to residents earning 50% or less AMI, per its website.

Totaling 27,000 square feet in size, the 34-foot-tall proposed residential building will have one-bedroom units except for one two-bedroom unit. All units will have a patio or balcony, and amenities will be on the first floor, including an outdoor patio with seats and a grilling station.

CHC is seeking a reduction from the county’s parking requirements to one space per unit. The submitted plan shows a total of 47 surface parking spaces to support the building.

“Based on experience, the Applicant anticipates most of the residents will not have vehicles. In addition, while supportive services will include transportation to doctors, retail and other destinations, a majority of the trips generated…will be during non-peak traffic hours,” Strobel wrote.

The site is adjacent to a medical office building and just southeast of the Fair Oaks police and fire stations. The Harris Teeter-anchored Pender Village Center is also half a mile away.

Fair Ridge at West Ox is the latest residential project to offer mostly or entirely affordable units after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors pledged to add 10,000 new affordable units by 2034. Developments at Dominion Square West in Tysons and the Fairfax County Government Center got approved just last month.

However, an agreement for affordable apartments at Bowman Towne Court in Reston that would’ve also delivered a new library got scrapped on Feb. 8. The developer cited increased costs in a letter notifying the county of its decision.

CHC’s application hasn’t been officially accepted yet for review by county staff.

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