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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fairfax County Planning Commisstion approves Brightview project

The architectural concept for the Brightview facility.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted Feb. 21 to approve a request for a special exception to allow the Shelter Group to build an assisted living facility on a 6.36-acre property on Gallows Road in Annandale. The proposal now must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Four single-family houses would be razed. The Brightview assisted living facility would have 95 rental apartment units, including 26 reserved for people with memory impairments. Elsewhere in the proposal, the project is described as a 104-bed facility.

The three-story building would have a mid-century modern design inspired by the houses in the Holmes Run Acres neighborhood on the other side of Gallows Road. Architectural elements include a gently-pitched roof, large windows, and earth-tone siding comprised of a variety of masonry and other natural materials.

The building would be between Gallows Road and Aston Street.
At the Planning Commission hearing, several people who live adjacent to the project said they oppose it, citing concerns about property values, privacy, traffic, stormwater drainage, and the safety of  schoolchildren at Woodburn Elementary School.

The main entrance will be on Gallows Road. The need for right or left turning lanes from Gallows Road will be addressed by VDOT during review of the site plan. The Shelter Group has agreed to reserve 12 feet along Gallows Road to allow for the eventual widening of the road to include a shoulder and bicycle lane.

The Planning Commission’s approval was contingent on the Shelter Group modifying its plans to address several issues raised by the Planning Department staff regarding such issues transitional screening, plantings, the location of the loading dock, and the preservation of specimen trees. A large oak, though, would be removed.

The proposal’s plan for stormwater management calls for an extended detention dry pond near Aston Street. The pond would outfall to an existing concrete roadside ditch on Aston Street that flows into an unnamed tributary to Accotink Creek.

The Fairfax County Health Care Advisory Board (HCAB), which had also endorsed the project, said staff training is crucial in ensuring that medications for patients are properly administered and stored.

A  report from the HCAB noted that market research by the Shelter Group identified a significant need for assisted living facilities in the area due to an aging population. The facility will be targeted to people who live within a five-mile radius of the property and their aging relatives.


  1. Sigh.

    This project couldnt have been located to downtown Annandale? There are PLENTY of suitable locations just down the road off LRT that would be much better suited for the construction, the traffic, walkability to stores for residents, etc.

    I understand giving zoning variances in extreme circumstances when there are no other options, but SHEESH - there are many better alternatives nearby.

    Keep single family neighborhoods for single family homes.

  2. This Board and Planning Commission are not at ALL interested in preserving and supporting neighborhoods or helping develop areas where it makes sense.

  3. Nice idea, wrong location2/23/13, 10:09 PM

    Not one Civic Association has endorsed this project during this process. There have been concerns and complaints about SAFETY (ingress & egress along a 4-lane highly traveled road with no turn lanes + school zone + neighborhood pool + pedestrian crosswalks + MetroBus stops in the area), STORMWATER RUNOFF, TRAFFIC (cars turning into & out of the facility + cars speeding on Gallows Rd. + cars approaching or exiting I-495 HOTLANES at Gallows Rd.), WILDLIFE & TREE PRESERVATION, POOR LOCATION for such a facility, BUILDING HEIGHT relative to neighboring homes, WANDERING Alzheimer's patients along Gallows Rd., PROPERTY VALUES in R-2 where commercial properties are now creeping into the landscape, and numerous OTHER LIGITIMATE CONCERNS .... all have been rebuffed by Mason and Providence Supervisors and their staff + the Mason Land Use Committee & now the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Unfortunately, Gallows Road is split right down the middle with one side in Mason District (home to "it's all about the developer") and Providence District (whose primary focus is McLean & Vienna, not a lonely little stretch of Gallows Rd.).

    Sad, sad, sad "representation" by our civic leaders and elected officials. NO ONE IS LISTENING.

  4. Makes you wonder if developers make their case with the good old fashioned stuffed envelope. Does anything they want ever get rejected? It's like those in charge just listen to the people because they are required to, but their minds are already made up.

  5. So is this a done deal? Are there any further opportunities for public comment, or does this go straight to construction?

    Despite letters to both Penny Gross and Linda Smyth, I've heard NOT A WORD back from either. I'm just one person, they're not even acknowledging, are continued efforts (by anyone) just futile?

    1. Nice idea, wrong location2/25/13, 2:06 PM

      This is NOT a done deal YET. The next step will be a BoS meeting - date not published yet.

      The BIG ISSUE here is this property [not unlike most RESIDENTIAL property in our area] is zoned R-2, which allows a medical facility to go in WITHOUT REZONING approval. R-2 zoning already allows for this! In case you don't know what R-2 stands for, this is what it means .... [R]esidential - 2 homes per acre. One would think this really means HOMES, not a medical facility or anything else of a similar nature. Unfortunate for all the RESIDENTIAL neighbors who will live next door, behind, and across the street [super busy Gallows Rd.] from this facility. Also unfortunate that other lots remain in the same area, and the same thing can happen to them. Goodbye neighborhood. Hello commercial real estate.

  6. Keep voting for the same folks that talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Zoned R2, yet somehow an apartment complex is being put in. On the Hummer Road side the Yechon guys have converted the home next store to their storage annex, and the board approved the parking expansion down the street. Lets not talk about the schools, after the redistricting the Jazz band at Poe has dissolved and the Symphonic band is simply lacking budding musicians. AHS has been gutted.

  7. Somehow I dont think memory impaired seniors and others in an assisted living facility really will take advantage of the walkability of downtown Annandale. Elsewhere in the county and other areas facilities like this are often placed in single family home areas. And cmon, this is on Gallows road, which is hardly bucolic. Better to keep the downtown Annandale locations for folks who will actually walk to things.

  8. So the Shelter Group has agreed to reserve 12 feet along Gallows Road to allow for the eventual widening of the road to include a shoulder and bicycle lane.

    Great - hope the "eventual" doesn't mean over 5 years.

  9. there are metro bus stops in the area?

    oh my what is Penny thinking? that the employees at the facility actually need a way to commute there? Clearly its better to build this where there are no bus stops, eh?