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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lincolnia residents oppose homeless shelter next door


The Lincolnia area where Fairfax County wants to relocate the Bailey's Crossroads homeless shelter. 1 - the shelter site; 2  Lincolnia Senior Center; 3- Charleston Square; 4 - Stonegate at Landmark. Click map to enlarge.
Residents of the Stonegate at Landmark and Charleston Square townhouse communities are going all out to fight Fairfax County’s plans to locate a temporary homeless shelter in their neighborhood in Lincolnia.

About 30 residents came to a meeting organized by Stonegate resident Deb Fraser April 5, where they discussed concerns about declining property values, crime, and safety.

They plan to put up “Stop the Shelter” signs, reach out to the Board of Supervisors and state legislators, solicit support from other nearby communities and businesses, hand out flyers, speak out at public meetings, and if, necessary, hire a lawyer and pursue litigation.

The Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter, on Moncure Avenue in Bailey’s Crossroads, has to be relocated to make way for the Southeast Quadrant redevelopment project. The Board of Supervisors had approved a land swap in February that would allow AvalonBay to build a 375-unit apartment building on Moncure while the county would build a human services center on an adjacent property.

That deal is contingent on finding a suitable site to relocate the homeless shelter. On March 28, the county announced the shelter would be moved to modular units in a field behind the Lincolnia Senior Center, at 4710 N. Chambliss St. That would be a temporary location, for four or five years, until a permanent site can be found.

The shelter would have beds for 50 men and women, 24-hour staffing, a parking lot, a hypothermia prevention program, and security features, including outdoor lights and fencing. If approved by the Board of Supervisors, it would open in spring 2017.

No one from Stonegate or Charleston Square received an official notice about the shelter from Mason Supervisor Penny Gross or anyone else, Fraser said, noting, “that is unacceptable.” She has already met with Gross but doesn’t think the supervisor is sympathetic to homeowners’ concerns.

“We can all chuckle at the word ‘temporary.’ Schools have trailers that are 20 years old,” Fraser said.

The planned site is just a stone’s throw from both the Stonegate and Charleston Square communities. Several people at the meeting noted that homeless people would be cutting through their backyards as they walk from the shelter to restaurants, stores, and bus stops on Little River Turnpike and Beauregard Street.

The Bailey’s Crossroads Shelter provides sleeping facilities, but clients cannot spend the day inside, so it’s common to find homeless individuals hanging around nearby streets, vacant lots, and shopping areas.

Lincolnia residents are worried that vagrants would be in their neighborhood panhandling and posing a threat to children at bus stops. And because homeless individuals aren’t allowed to bring drugs or alcohol into shelters, there is a concern that they would hide those items outside where children could find them.

Scott Brewer cited crime statistics from the Fairfax County Police Department listing service calls at the Bailey’s Crossroads Shelter between April 4, 2015, and April 4, 2016, for 23 assaults, five larcenies, six drug offenses, two sex offenses, and one robbery. Nine people who had given their address as the Bailey’s were arrested last month for possession of an open container, trespassing, disorderly conduct, or being drunk in public.

Both Brewer and Fraser stressed they’re sympathetic to the needs of the homeless but said the county’s goal should be to end homelessness.

“We need to protect our families,” Fraser said. “We need to preserve our property values.” She also raised concerns about the safety of clients at the Lincolnia Senior Center. One person at the meeting proposed moving the shelter to the Mason Government Center.

County officials are hosting a community meeting on the shelter April 11, 7-9 p.m., at Peace Lutheran Church, at 6362 Lincolnia Road.

The Mason District Land Use Committee will discuss the shelter April 26, 7:30 p.m., at the Mason  Government Center. The Fairfax County Planning Commission is expected to hold a public hearing on it in  May. 

56 comments:

  1. If Deb Fraser and her neighbors think they are going to stop the relocation of the Bailey's Shelter they are sadly mistaken. The community meeting on April 11th is just to appease the nearby residents. This is a done deal! No other locations are being considered for the relocation. Voters should have voted out Penny Gross in November. They are getting exactly what they voted for!!!

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    1. Then all I can say is you don't know Deb Fraser very well. If anyone can organize a drive to stop this it is her.

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    2. So there's absolutely no other viable location within Mason District? Come on........

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    3. Let's stop the negativity before it begins. I have lived in the area since the 80's. The neighborhood needs to ban together to save our property values, to keep our neighborhood safe. Who voted for who has no place in this arena. What is at stake is our neighborhood. Charli Lucier

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    4. RECALL Penny Gross for her willful neglect of her constituents.

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  2. don't feel bad for these people. should have been more active defeating Penny. she won because they weren't paying attention and that is on them

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  3. The relocation of the Shelter at First Christian Church was stopped by concerned homeowners in February this year. One of the issues those residents raised in an open letter posted on this blog was was that the homeless should not be treated as a ping pong ball. The greatest injustice here is that Fairfax County has betrayed their responsibilities to the homeless, making them vacate the only shelter and community they have known, to become pawns in a real estate venture nobody wants or needs.

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  4. It appears this shelter won't be "temporary".

    Robert Stalzer, deputy county executive for planning and development, told the supervisors. “The temporary location will evolve into a permanent site that will include not only the 50 beds that are currently a part of the existing facility but also enhanced services including transitional housing for the homeless community.”

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  5. Penny Gross's legacy, after so many years as supervisor, will go down the dumpster just as this poor neighborhood will too. So sad!!

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    1. Just like all the title 1 schools she has made in the county due to her support of making Fairfax an amnesty county. My only question is where do I have to go to get amnesty from the illegals?

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  6. It's amazing how many people don't think that they could ever be homeless.All it takes is one catastrophic illness .I am saddened by the lack of sympathy and the way in which the homeless are viewed.Some are families with children.Not all homeless are drug/alcohol addicted people as the picture is usually painted.Not in my neighborhood ,it could be you one day.One never knows what tomorrow will bring.

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  7. one neighborhood had this for years and its time for another neighborhood to. stop your complaining!

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    1. Are you volunteering your neighborhood for the shelter? No? Tag, you're the NIMBY now.

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  8. When discussing compassion, make sure you consider the inescapable fact that the compassion of Fairfax County ends whenever a developer waves a fat check in their face.

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  9. these people are homeless, not criminals!

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  10. A while back I commented that Penny would want to put the homeless in Lincolnia, so they could go from the shelter to the senior center and finally to the paupers graveyard Penny created.

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  11. No one is saying that homeless people are criminals. The sad fact is that vulnerable people, like this shelter's population, attract criminals who prey on them... which the data from around this shelter seems to support. Wherever the county chooses to relocate this shelter should be well thought out, and permanent in order to provide stability for these folks so they can get the services they need and get back on their feet. Shuffling them around the district to ill-suited temporary locations does no good for them or for the communities currently residing there.

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  12. Maybe Deb Fraser and her community can use the relocation of the homeless shelter as a way to give back to their community and turn this into something positive for themselves! The shelter welcomes volunteers. Many faith based organizations donate their time and often serve dinner to the homeless. They can find more information on the Northern Virginia Family Services website at http://www.nvfs.org/volunteernow.

    They also have ways to donate to the shelter or through Northern Virginia Family Services. (Ex: Toiletries, clothing, etc.)

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    1. What makes you assume that they don't already give back to the shelter or volunteer at its current location?

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    2. Its amazing that all of those residents are already volunteering at the Shelter!!! Now they will be able to walk there!! I am sure the shelter loves all of their volunteer work!

      Seriously.....do you think we believe that all those residents volunteer? If they did they wouldn't be so closed minded about the relocation.

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    3. Au contraire, Anonymous 6:53 PM! Have YOU ever BEEN to a homeless shelter? Do YOU know what its like to be around a group of severely mentally ill people? Helping at a shelter is different than living next to one. The first time I helped at a shelter like this one I was convinced that I never wanted to live near one. Helping the homeless is a noble cause. Having them drunk and screaming outside your front door, or sleeping and defecating in your backyard is a nightmare.

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    4. I've been homeless and Fairfax County did nothing to help me or my family. We are still poor but we work and the shelters we stayed at are horrible: it's not just some of the residents but the staff are a nightmare, too. Compassion doesn't get you anywhere because all it does is attract the wrong kind of people. I stand with Deb: protect what you have worked so hard for. The way I see it, this is a great comeuppance and slap in the face to the bullshit that is Fairfax County Government.

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    5. I still am working through homelessness. I'm employed and I work hard to keep a roof over my family's head albeit a motel since the shelters are always full and the staff are just as bad as the residents. I stand with Deb Fraser. To hell with Fairfax County. They're getting just what they deserve by Deb's rebuttal.

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  13. Evicting the homeless from their shelter building and forcing them into temporary trailers was an incredibly poor decision advanced by Supervisor Gross and supported by her Board colleagues. A permanent, appropriate and well thought out accommodation should have been in place prior to the approval of this real estate deal which had been in the works for 3 years!

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    1. There's plenty of space to build the shelter on the rear of Penny Gross's .631 acre lot. She probably knows someone who can get her a variance...

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  14. This proposal is an absolute injustice. The people in these communities bought their homes and located their business there without this negative element being present. It is not right to force it on them now. It will change the character of their neighborhood much for the worse and most certainly impact their property values and business revenues in a very negative way. The neighborhood will be far less desirable because of it. Homeless shelters should be located away from residential areas, away from liquor stores, and away from shopping centers. Helping the homeless does not have to include hurting the non-homeless, which this proposal most certainly would. Fairfax County residents and business-owners should be furious with their Board of Supervisors for making such a proposal. This relocation and the land-swap deal with the developer have clearly been very poorly thought out.

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    1. Brian Lofife4/8/16, 2:09 PM

      Oh, the irony...depends on who wants what and then this argument is trotted out or refuted by those who want whatever the proposed thing is:

      "This proposal is an absolute injustice. The people in these communities bought their homes and located their business there without this negative element being present. It is not right to force it on them now. It will change the character of their neighborhood much for the worse and most certainly impact their property values and business revenues in a very negative way. The neighborhood will be far less desirable because of it."

      Truth is, it is a good one and it is TRUE. Why can't this argument be given value and people come together to find solutions that fit vs. thinking someone has to go home disappointed and their home/business takes a hit?

      As for the homeless, lots of other communities provide housing (not homeless shelters), which takes away a huge concern for most of the folks who find themselves in need. This means the people are integrated into communities as individuals or families. Services (all kinds, including mental health) are provided. Fool proof? No. Better than what we do? Absolutely. Perfect answer, no.

      That's right, find solutions instead of judging and attacking each other. That kind of behavior serves THIS district's supervisor very well. It's how she gets lots of stuff by us. Shame on us.

      Let's figure out a solution to the issue instead of trying to "win" and destroy/divide each other.

      The proof of what works is in the success the communities have had when they band together to change something.

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    2. Arlington just put one in middle of Courthouse and has had no problems. Stop assuming it will be one.

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    3. Directly in front of the police station.

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    4. I think you miss the point. The point of land use in Mason District is to drive the middle class out so their homes can be made available for 'affordable housing' i.e. for people who don't vote but provide developers with ample for low wage workers who don't complain about anything. Penny won Mason District with all of 15% of registered voters. She owns it. After 20 years don't you think she deserves it?

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    5. Put it at the Mason Govt Center, so these unfortunates can be monitored by the police, and Penny can have 4 o'clock tea with them since she is a such fan.

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    6. I second the idea of putting them at the Mason Gov Center. They have space. They already own the property, her argument for the new location.

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  15. On Monday April 4, Fairfax County sent a team to the Lincolnia Senior Center to discuss the Shelter relocation with the staff and families. Many questions were asked such as where the homeless would go during the day, about the services that would be offered, and security. The County reps had no answers. The reason is that Penny Gross sent PUBLIC WORKS. This is how much she cares about the residents of Lincolnia.

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  16. Classic Penny Gross. She operates in secrecy and ignores the advice and pleas of her constituency.

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  17. The shelter seems to be OK where it was, albeit not without its problems as well. Along comes a developer (and yes, Bailey's needs some kind of development) who will put in residential housing and *voila* a homeless shelter has got to go (developer's thought process is no doubt around attracting renters/buyers/whatever --- hmm, lowering the property values? unattractive?)....into a different place adjacent to another residential area. The county is talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    Yes, this is a proposal, so go to the meetings and speak up. Coalesce and defeat this like the DMV was defeated. The community needs to make the roar deafening.

    Don't ever think that the community will be consulted first on anything or that one area of a community will consult another before doing things that bother neighbors. Just not the way here in Mason and likely other areas given all you can read about in the papers.

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  18. This is the second proposed location that is a bad choice. When the shelter first opened in the 1980's off Columbia Pike, that was deemed a viable location and it still is a viable location. The Board of Supervisors need to take serious responsibility and stop bouncing the homeless around. Listen to the residents of Mason District for a change. In the meantime, the number of actual homeless hanging out in areas such as Route 236, John Marr Drive, and Bailey's Crossroads has escalated The County spends all this money on the homeless but yet we see more homeless hanging around Fairfax County. To the Board: get serious with your budget and act responsibly.

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    1. why exactly is it a viable option?

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    2. It was a viable option at the time, 30 years ago, because there was an identified population, the need for a shelter was supported by the community and the County and a suitable site was located in the target Baileys Crossroads neighborhood.It was in a commercial area ( the adjacent townhouses were built afterward), on major bus routes and close to needed medical and social services

      Question answered?

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    3. no b/c by your rational it wouldn't be a viable option now and there is no more reason to keep it there vs move it.

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    4. It was a viable option then because it was a much poorer neighborhood. So much more acceptable to put homeless shelter next to apartments and cheap single family homes. So the previously poor people didn't complain. Now there's been some development there and the land there is worth a little bit more. And the shelter at the Bailey's Community Center is much, much, much closer to single family houses than it will be at its new location. Frankly, the proposed location has better access to the bus routes and commercial properties. There's no real argument here other than no one wants a homeless shelter nearby. And homeless shelters are necessary. So let's foist them on less politically active people...

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  19. The $125 million new county services building Penny wants to build next to the new apartment building, originally included plans for an expanded shelter.
    http://annandaleva.blogspot.com/2013/02/east-county-office-building-coming-to.html

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  20. The county does not have the money for such a building and no one has a 'crystal' ball to know it can be built in the near future or what our needs will be. There is a current building at Carlin Springs Rd and Columbia Pike that has been empty for awhile now. It would work as a shelter, transitional housing and an human services office. When asked about it Penny quickly said "no" as the location was too near the Arlington line. Well heck isn't the Senior Center close to Alexandria line.

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  21. Some of us who will be impacted by the relocation live in the City of Alexandria. Who will represent ours interests in this? Will our concerns be blown off because we are not Fairfax County residents?

    In what universe is it a good idea to move a homeless shelter from a permanent building to construction site trailers? And those trailers are to be on a site across a busy and dangerous-to-pedestrians street from Total Wine and a Virginia ABC store-- what could possibly go wrong? And the "public policy" reason for doing this seems to be to make a private developer richer.

    The whole "plan" looks like it was not well thought-out.

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  22. Fun fact, I live just a block (less even) from this proposed site. Guess what kids? I threw away a bong I found on the street and needles at well. Hey kids! The crime you mention is already here! Boo!

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  23. Attended last night's meeting. Appears that county officials feel that this is a done deal. Won't they collect a lot of money from the deal for the new construction at Bailey's as well as future taxes? Lincolnia residents were not informed of the proposal early in the game as they should have been. Penny Gross is obviously just riding it out. Fairfax County citizens pay high taxes. We deserve to be informed before projects reach this stage. It appears that county officials have very little respect for its residents. Why not keep the Bailey's shelter until a permanent shelter site is located? Or will the so called temporary site proposed for Lincolnia become the permanent site? (Remember that the initial cost for the temporary site is $2.1 million, and then there is maintenance cost for 4 or 5 years, assuming that it really would be temporary.) This is the financial view, in addition to the other potential problems discussed.

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  24. Lincolnia Cat4/13/16, 10:36 AM

    Thanks everyone for enlightening what the signs are about. it's easy to see that particular intersection is not a great location for any kind of development, mainly due to traffic concerns, no sidewalks, etc. I'm just wondering if any studies had been conducted before-hand to estimate and handle the predicted increase in pedestrian and vehicular traffic. I guess an empty lot is just too much of a temptation for some. Maybe we will get something good out of this - anyone for re-engineering the Beauregard, Lincolnia, North Chambliss triangle?
    The plight of the homeless does need to be addressed, and I would like to see this happen in a way that is constructive for the whole community.

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    1. What exactly do you mean by "re-engineering" here?

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  25. The empty lot is used by the senior center for walking, etc., so it is not unused. Since the county owns it, they took the easy way to try to relocate the homeless center, without regard for the surrounding residents, traffic, and the shopping center.

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  26. Incidentally, the intersection at Beauregard and 236 was reengineered several years ago by Penny Gross and the county, and it is still terrible.

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  27. Follow the money...... The developers who will benefit from kicking the homeless out of their Bailey's Crossroads shelter (Landmark Atlantic and 5827 Columbia Pike Associates LLC) are all major contributors to Penny Gross' and Sharon Bulova's campaigns.

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  28. Fairfax County paid $7 million for the Bailey's Crossroads parcel that is part of the swap. The land is valued at less than $4 million. Your tax dollars at work. Check out: http://wjla.com/7-on-your-side/fairfax-county-questioned-in-7-million-land-deal

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    1. Typical sweetheart deal for friends of penny! The link does not work :(

      Retire the penny!!!

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  29. Please consider signing the petition: https://www.change.org/p/nextdoor-parklawn-stop-fairfax-county-from-erecting-a-homeless-shelter-next-door-to-lincolnia-senior-center

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  30. I could not find the petition on change.org.

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  31. Well, as everyone knows by now, the Planning Commission approved the proposal. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that tomorrow is another day. There will be an Advisory Committee for nearby residents to voice their concerns. And the permanent site (which has been identified) is scheduled for an expedited opening. I think it will come to pass that the fears of a homeless shelter nearby were greatly exaggerated. Time will tell.

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