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Friday, January 20, 2017

Public hearing on homeless shelter relocation scheduled for Jan. 25

The new site of the Bailey's Crossroads homeless shelter.
Official action to relocate the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter continues next week with a public hearing and Board of Supervisors vote.

Fairfax County’s Office of Public Affairs has issued a timetable on the county’s effort move the homeless shelter from its current site at 3525 Moncure Avenue in Bailey’s Crossroads to 5914 Seminary Road, about a quarter of a mile away

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on an amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan on Jan. 24, 4 p.m., to facilitate the construction of a new, larger homeless shelter on an unused commercial property at Seminary Road close to the Columbia Pike/Leesburg Pike intersection purchased by the county in September.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended approval at a hearing on Dec. 1.

The hearing will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. Anyone who wants to speak at the hearing needs to register in advance.

The plan amendment would allow for the construction of a new shelter on an area currently zoned for a mix of office, residential, and institutional uses. The shelter would include permanent supportive housing for people transitioning out of homelessness, as well as temporary housing and services for the homeless.

Funding for the design and construction was included in a bond referendum approved by voters in November.

The site is currently occupied by a vacant, deteriorated building that formerly housed a veterinary clinic. The county intends to begin tearing down that building the week of Jan. 30.

After it is demolished, the property will be graded and seeded with grass until new construction can begin. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in early 2018, pending receipt of all necessary approvals.

The county will hold an informational meeting on the project on Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m., at the Mason District Government Center. At the meeting, the public will have an opportunity to view architectural concept drawings and talk with county staff about the building’s design and how the facility will operate.

On Feb. 28, county staff will present concept design plans to the Mason District Land Use Committee. That meeting, at the Mason District Government Center, at 7:30 p.m., is open to the public but is not a public hearing.

The committee will make a recommendation on whether or not it endorses the project at its May 23 meeting.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at some point this summer on a proposed special exception zoning application for the project and will then vote on a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. A special exception needs to be approved to ensure the new facility complies with zoning regulations and is compatible with the planned redevelopment of the area.

After that, the BoS will hold a public hearing and will conduct a final vote on the project.

The exact dates of the Planning Commission and BoS hearings will be announced at least two weeks in advance.

If the special exception is approved, construction of the new homeless shelter could begin in early 2018, and the shelter could open in late fall 2019.

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