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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Plans outlined for new Bailey's Crossroads homeless shelter

The red box shows the location of the new site for the Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter.
Fairfax County is going ahead with plans to relocate the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter to a site on Seminary Road – despite the fact that plans for redeveloping the current site fell through.

The new three-story facility would be built on a 20,000 square-foot site occupied by a vacant building that used to house the Fairfax Animal Hospital.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal Dec. 1. A hearing before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Jan. 24.

The current shelter, at 3525 Moncure Avenue, needs to be replaced because it’s outdated, David Stinson of the Department of Planning and Zoning, said at a meeting of the Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation Nov. 15. It was built in 1987 and doesn’t meet current accessibility requirements.

The new shelter would have 50 beds for homeless adults, the same number as in the current shelter. It would also have 15 personal living quarters in accordance with the county’s Housing First Strategy to provide permanent supportive housing to people moving on from homelessness. Those units would be on the second and third floors. The shelter would be on the first floor and basement level.

Construction could start in early 2018 if the design and approval processes go smoothly, and the building could be finished in late fall of 2019. Construction funds will come from a bond passed by voters Nov. 8.

The property is zoned C-8 allowing a maximum intensity of .50 floor area ratio (FAR). The county’s plan for the new shelter calls for a FAR of .70, so a zoning special exception would have to be approved.

The new shelter would be less than quarter of a mile from its current location. It would be within walking distance of six bus stops and would provide the same services – counseling, case management, and hypothermia prevention – as the current shelter.

The county had originally planned to relocate the Bailey’s Crossroads shelter to facilitate the redevelopment of the Southeast Quadrant along Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. AvalonBay had proposed building apartments on the site occupied by the shelter, and the county and county agreed to a land swap to make that happen. AvalonBay backed out, however, just before the deal was to be finalized.

According to project coordinator Joan Beacham, of the Department of Public Works, AvalonBay withdrew because it determined the project was not economically feasible.

Because the county hadn’t been able to find a permanent site for the shelter, it proposed relocating it to a temporary facility next to the Lincolnia Senior Center, a plan strongly opposed by nearby residents.

Last summer, the county found the Seminary Road property for a permanent shelter, at just about the same time the AvalonBay deal fell through.

The removal of the shelter from Moncure Avenue would “clear the way for the redevelopment of the Southeast Quadrant,” Stinson said. The county is discussing options for redevelopment with the landowner, but nothing has been proposed.

The county’s plan for a new office building for various human services programs in the Southeast Quadrant is still on the books, pending another public/private redevelopment partnership. “Those plans are flexible,” Beacham said.

The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan envisions the area where the new shelter will be located would eventually be redeveloped as a mixed-use “village scale” town center with retail, 300 multifamily housing units, offices, a park, and institutional uses.

The new shelter would take up half an acre of a proposed five-acre park. An old airplane hangar nearby could be converted to an indoor recreation space, Stinson said. However, any plans to redevelop that area could be many years away. 

19 comments:

  1. The county’s plan for a new office building for various human services programs in the Southeast Quadrant is still on the books, pending another public/private redevelopment partnership. “Those plans are flexible,” Beacham said.

    Oh god. Nobody wants this! Please let this idea die, Penny.

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    1. The County leadership just keeps insisting that Mason become the social services/welfare capitol of Fairfax County. Bad idea, bad for business and bad for future commercial development.

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    2. And bad for our neighborhoods. Avalon Bay would have been a tremendous asset instead of these social service centers you reference which are nothing more than a detraction for home buyers. Who wants to live in a welfare capitol?

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    3. I used to live in Annandale not to far fromr the social services building. Hardly noticed it was there. I now live in Alexandria, near the City Dept of Health. I hardly notice it is there. Really, these places are no big deal. I guess lack of compassion, and fear of poor people, esp poor people of color, is in fashion these days.

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    4. Alexandria has good plans to spur commercial growth and has throughout it neighborhoods. Fairfax has been a total failure in this arena particularly in Mason. The critical mass of the poor, the illegals, the overall blight has pushed the residents in Mason to think this way. This is a result of failed leadership to spur commercial growth to offset this imbalance.

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  2. I wish they would move on this sooner than 2019. It would be massive improvement to whats there now and will hopefully spur more development.

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  3. a total set up from the smart. supervisor gross might look and act dumb but she knows how to get what she wants.

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    1. I agree Gross knows what she wants and how to get it. She just doesn't want what her constituents want. Hence, the disconnect.

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    2. Penny's constituents voted for her in the last election instead of voting for change. So you can place some of the blame on her devoted constituents.

      Areas of Annandale, Bailey's Crossroads, and Seven Corners now look worse than the Route 1 corridor which used to be the worst part of Fairfax County. Now it's Mason District.

      Hopefully in the next election Mason District will wake up!!!

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  4. There was no community input in this new plan amendment and it is sorely lacking.

    No one wants a human services building in our prime commercial area except Sup. Gross. She still wants her sparkling new palace instead of utilizing vacant commercial space (and there is plenty of that around).

    The proposed homeless shelter is now in the right location but offers no recreation. The County passed a plan amendment for rooftop playrounds for schools, how about a rooftop recreation area for the shelter? The residents are forced to leave the shelter during the day and need a place to go. Sure, they are supposed to be looking for jobs, but that isn't an everyday opportunity. Instead the county planned a park next to the shelter that would occupy prime commercial acreage that could be better planned to generate revenue and help keep taxes down.

    The proposed new Seminary Road is drawn through our light industrial area where we go for car repair, etc. We need these services, yet they are on the chopping block.

    Just revisit the 2007 Comp Plan designed by the residents...it is still want is needed and wanted. Quit wasting time and money on constant undesirable comp plan changes.



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    1. Penny Gross's arrogance and ideologies will give her a legacy of destroying Mason District. I cannot imagine why any sane person would want that as their leave behind. Her insistence on these very issues will leave a bad taste with her constituents and future Mason residents for years to come way beyond her administrative tenure and failures.

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  5. I recognize the need for homeless shelters, but the Baileys Crossroads area is not the right place. The area has been blighted for too many years, and is seriously in need of upgrading. Having the shelter here leads to the homeless people spending their days in and around the shopping areas, which is not good for business. Again, I recognize the need for sheltering our homeless, and I am not a NIMBY person, but the county needs to find another place.

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  6. "I recognize the need for homeless shelters, but the Baileys Crossroads area is not the right place."

    I look forward to all the folks who said Lincolnia was the wrong place, and that Baileys was the right place, chiming in.

    Or we can get real, and just see that y'all don't want any homeless folks near you at all.

    Merry Christmas!

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  7. "An old airplane hangar nearby" - I didn't know there was anything left from the airport other than the red warning light on top of Burke&Herbert.

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    Replies
    1. The old hangar functions as a storage company and is a well-maintained building. With this plan, another tax paying business would be displaced.

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  8. The proposed site for the shelter relocation
    does not abut a residential neighborhood or a senior center. No one has complained about incompatibility.
    The concern, as I understand it, is that a prime revitalization gateway is to be used for another non tax paying County building, while there is a 40+ % commercial vacancy rate in the area. That is simply poor planning when the County is claiming a financial crisis and there has been no revitalization in the Baileys area for over 20 years.
    Time to go back to the drawing board.

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  9. Maybe you liberals really should have voted for Trump?

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    1. JRS, I did. After canvassing for Bernie. So I am not sure what your point is. Did you have one?

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  10. There is no reason by Baileys cant be another Mosaic. All you need is vision, commitment and pursuance to a value that we can do it. What is holding us back: a misguided fanaticism of building social service palaces and NIMBY phobia. Take that away and add smart County incentives like good transit options, commitment to pedestrian and bicycle modals of commuting and tax incentives to developers to create a vibrant neighborhood/mixed use magnet of retail, residential and commercial activity. Then we might even have the finances to provide more for the poor. Get rid of the current failed paradigm and we may have a chance.

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