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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bailey's Crossroads residents oppose childcare center on Glen Carlyn Road

The proposed face of the childcare center
About 40 Bailey’s Crossroads residents came to a Mason District Land Use Committee meeting on a snowy evening March 23 to voice their objections to a proposal for a childcare center on Glen Carlyn Road in Bailey’s Crossroads. The complaints mainly centered around traffic and drainage problems.

The Glen Carlyn Child Care Center would serve up to 99 children. It would be built on a two and a-half acre wooded lot across the street from St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church. A small house on the property would be demolished.

In response to concerns from Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning staff, the developer, Deyi Awadallah, reduced the size of the proposed building by 1,500 square feet and revised the design of the façade, said Brent Krasner, a senior staff coordinator with the planning department.

The developer didn’t reduce the number of children, however. There won’t be as many as 99, at least when it first opens, said Awadallah. But he feels it’s better to get approval for that many now, rather than have to come back to the Planning Commission.

Awadallah didn’t give a presentation on the proposal at the MDLUC meeting as planned because his engineer didn’t show up.

As a result, MDLUC chair Dan Aminoff, said the committee will defer action on whether or not to endorse the childcare center until its April 22 meeting, but invited residents to go ahead with their presentations. The Fairfax County Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for April 24.

George Boosalis, a resident of the Glen Carlyn Community Association whose backyard borders the property, spoke about neighbors’ concerns. Many residents from his community, along with the Long Branch, Lebanon Road, and Jan Mar neighborhoods signed a petition opposing the project.

According to Boosalis, cars area already back up on Glen Carlyn Road during rush hour, and the traffic will be much worse if parents are dropping their children off at the daycare center. There is no left turn lane on Glen Carlyn, which means a lot of cars would be making hazardous U-turns as they exit the center.

There is nowhere to park on most of Glen Carlyn and Lebanon Drive, which would be a problem if there is an event at the daycare center, he said. There aren’t any sidewalks either, which would be dangerous for parents walking their children to the center.

Other people in the audience raised concerns about the dangers of cars speeding on Glen Carlyn during non-peak times and the curves on Glen Carlyn that obstruct drivers’ sight lines.

Flooding is a serious concern, Boosalis told the MDLUC. There is a drainage channel running through the property that feeds into Four Mile Run. Because the channel backs up when there is heavy rain, the ground is often wet, and that causes large trees to fall down, which would be hazardous to children playing outside, he said. Development is prohibited on a large part of the property that has been designated a resource protection area (RPA).

Boosalis also expressed concerns about playground noise, the difficulty of ambulances getting in and out, and the impact on the quality of life in the community, noting, “this is a huge building in a residential neighborhood.”

Finally, he disputed the developer’s claim that there aren’t any nearby daycare facilities that serve children under 2. Boosalis said he found several facilities within three miles that take infants.

Awadallah purchased the property in 2008. He and his brother, Ala, tried to develop townhouses there three years ago, but that plan was rejected by the county.

They are now proposing a daycare center, Ala Awadallah said, because that is one of the few types of projects that can be developed on a residential property through a special exception, without the need to go through a lengthier rezoning process. The brothers have built numerous houses throughout the area, but this would be their first non-residential project.

13 comments:

  1. The Mason District Land Use Committee must vote against this! It's obvious that the Awadallah brothers only want to make money and could care less about the neighborhood and neighbors. They should build a single-family house and sell it if they want to make money. This is ridiculous. The County Planning and Zoning Planner should have said immediately this project should not be recommended. Why aren't they doing their job?

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    1. This is terrible. Im glad the community is fighting the county and developer. It sounds like this project has no right being built in this neighborhood.

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  2. The points made by Mr. Boosalis are spot on. Once at capacity of 99 kids, this project would add over 100 cars on Glen Carlyn in both the morning and evening. Current traffic can not handle that capacity. And sight lines are currently a problem. The dedicated left-turn lane proposed would do little to ease the congestion. This residential area does not need a non-residential building. Especially one that would overload our roads by this extent.

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  3. In addition is the environmental impact of the project. The building is being proposed on the portion of the property that is buildable. However, much of the property is a Resource Protection Area containing woods containing varied wildlife and a Long Branch Creek with leads to Four Mile Run (watershed) and eventually leads to the Chesapeake Bay (watershed). A building this size and with this footprint would negatively impact the immediate environment and the downstream environment.

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  4. This road is also used as one of the primary bike routes in the area for commuting in the morning and evening.

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  5. Traffic is a huge concern for this property and this project. Several times over the past 40-50 years developers have requested a special exception to erect a large-size building that would be used by 40-50-70-100 (as in this case) cars. Every time it was denied in huge part because of the negative traffic impact - both volume and safety. This should be the case with this current request. Deny. This property would be served best as basic residential at the current levels - no exceptions. Something that would have negligible traffic impact. That is if it is developed at all.

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  6. It seems as though this would cause a hazardous environment for cars, pedestrians and especially the children. I can't believe the county is even considering it.

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  7. It is utterly ridiculous to even consider this being built right in the middle of a quiet, residential neighborhood. All the reasons mentioned above are valid. Where is the common sense in this matter?

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  8. Hoping the project does not get the ok! There are so many valid concerns from the surrounding community. I don't understand why the project is even being considered!

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  9. It sounds to me that this project is all about making money. They are not even considering the negative impact this is going to have on the community as a whole. The traffic alone is going to be a nightmare! It's just not fair to disrupt this established neighborhood and all of its residents. I hope this does not get approved.

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  10. I think that all of you posters are crazy. As a mother with three young children I can attest that there are LIMITED childcare centers in the area. The few that exist have extensive wait lists. If flooding can be demonstrated I will defer... But to say that traffic will be an issue? Traffic is always an issue in this area and it is not going to get any better particularly with houses being torn down and multiple homes being put up. The area is getting more congested.

    I imagine those opposed do not have young children. Possibly retired and living right around that area. Fairfax needs to support childcare (and affordable childcare) for dual working families. The area is slowly aging out and families with young children are moving further and further out and properties are going into decline with an aging population. We need to stop being so short sighted.

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    1. Here are some facts related to this project. These facts, with their documentation, were presented to the Land Use Committee.

      The group presented a survey they did in January 2014 which showed numerous options near the site. Some take children as infants. All of them had openings. There are childcare options. They are not limited.

      Yes, traffic has always been an issue. But just because we know it is going to get more congested is not a valid reason to add to, or hurry up, that congestion. Do you actually think people deserve to sit in traffic when we have a chance to not add to the issue?

      Flooding can be demonstrated. Videos and photos have been taken this past Fall - and this Winter and Spring - of the flooding and lack of drainage on the property and surrounding properties.

      Actually, many of those opposed do have young children. They oppose this building, because they want a safe neighborhood for their children that is not traffic congested or contains

      Those whose children are past childcare age, and those who are retired, are opposed to the building, because they want the same safe neighborhood for the young families that they had when they were raising their own children.

      Your statement that the area is slowly aging out and families with young children are moving further and further out contradicts your statement that more daycare is needed. In fact it is verification that more daycare is not needed.

      The group opposed to this project has done research on the project and its impact. They are not being short sighted. In fact they are taking a very long look at the area and what it would look like with this proposed building. They don't like how it looks. They prefer not to have the large building, the extra traffic, and the potential damage to the surrounding environment. They want a long-range look that attracts residents of all ages and stages of life.

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  11. I will have to agree with the statement from anonymous above. Unless you have lived in this neighborhood, you may not understand the flooding issues, the traffic, the fact that there are three churches on this street and a lot of land that the county paid $5M for and sits empty because it is partially in a resource protection area the same as this piece of land is. They are asking for a special permit to change the zoning from 3 Residential Houses to a daycare facility for 99 children.

    The daycare center affects more than mentioned above, it affects the runoff down to 4 Mile Run and out to the Chesapeake. If you are living downstream, trust me, you don't want additional flooding on top of what you already have to deal with so no, we are not being insensitive to people, we are being sensitive to flooding, wildlife, traffic, a neighborhood that is safe to walk and conduct our daily lives.

    There are quite a few locations in this area that is not in a neighborhood zoned R3. Four of the bordering homes have a business in their home, which for three of them would border the playground.

    The Land Use Committee has sent this to the Zoning Committee on two other occasions and they denied the application with good reason. The reasons have not changed and this community should not have to keep going to the county every 5-10 years just because someone new buys the land. It is listed in the real estate records as an "unbuildable lot" . It is in a Resource Protection Area (RPA) and it sits on a 100 year flood plain.

    The creek behind our homes has a concrete gully. The water rises so high that the land above the concrete is eroding. In a big rain storm, like today, we can take pictures of the flooding in our yards as well as the lot requesting the permit. The two houses on the other side of the creek had most if not all of their homes placed in the flood plain when remapped by FEMA.

    Please don't tell us it is all about daycare - it is so much more. Both sides of this creek have dead trees from constant saturation. Trees in the RPA cannot be touched unless they are known to be diseased or dying. Anything on the ground has to be hand planted.

    One of the questions regarding the daycare center is the cost of the building. Is it really affordable given that the building would probably cost $2M plus salaries for 12 people? It just seems more political than affordable.

    Please open your mind to other possibilities for the land. Three homes on that lot would be amenable to the community. We wouldn't mind buying the land and working with the watershed advisory group to place proper stream flow that currently runs off of Lebanon Drive through the houses that connect this property. As it looks now, if this is built, we see more flooding in our future. There are three houses whose land is in to the side of the proposed building that has standing water next to this lot. It stays saturated for weeks.

    One final note. Mr. Awadallah has not been a good neighbor. He has not taken care of the lot since he purchased it. He dug in the RPA without notifying the county. I ask you, is this the neighbor you would want?

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