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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Neighbors oppose childcare facility at poorly maintained, unsafe house

A childcare center is proposed for this house at 5232 Backlick Road.

Abbas Azizi wants to put a childcare facility in his house at 5232 Backlick Road, but neighbors object, citing problems with code compliance and safety.

When Azizi brought his proposal to the Mason District Land Use Committee April 22, he didn’t have any details or drawings showing how he would convert what is essentially a brick, one-story rambler with several additions in the back into a facility serving up to 50 children. Azizi is seeking a zoning special exception to allow a childcare center on a property zoned residential (R-2).

The swimming pool in the backyard of 5232 Backlick Road has been filled in but the diving board and stairs are still there.  The McMansion in the background is on Larrlyn Drive.

MDLUC Chair Dan Aminoff asked Azizi to come back when he had more concrete plans. 

Rick Avila, a neighbor who also has a child at Springfield Academy, a child care center adjacent to Azizi’s house, told the committee the property is “not well-maintained.” He compared the house to a “slumlord property,” citing problems with plumbing, unmowed grass, an unpermitted addition, and lots of trash in the yard, including a mattress that’s been there for a month. An old swimming pool in the backyard is filled in with gravel, which Avila called a safety hazard.

“If he can’t handle his property, how is he going to deal with a childcare program? What parent in their right mind would want to send their child there?” said Avila.

“There were mattresses and filth everywhere,” said Jennifer Schwitz, the principal of Springfield Academy.

Schwitz said property appeared to be vacant in recent months, and was surprised to hear Azizi say he currently lives there. There had been several tenants in the past and lots of people coming in and out, she said. She had filed complaints about several domestic disputes, as well as building code violations.

Jack Merritt, another neighbor whose mother founded the Springfield Academy and the Spring ’N’ Dale Private School on Edsall Road, said he saw a woman who apparently lived at Azizi’s house being “literally beaten against a car by an enraged boyfriend.”

Janet Hall, the Mason representative on the Fairfax County Planning Commission, advised Azizi to come back with a detailed site plan that describes what he would do about transitional screening, parking, and ensuring people will be able to get in and out safely. She urged him to talk to county transportation and VDOT officials about how the proposed facility would affect traffic.

Schwitz believes Azizi wants to use the house for a childcare center because he wasn’t able to sell it. She said there was a for-sale sign there about three months ago, and the asking price was $900,000. According to county tax records, Azizi purchased the house in 2011 for $350,000.  He says it has eight bedrooms and five bathrooms, although county records say it has four bedrooms and two and a-half bathrooms.

Azizi told the Annandale Blog he is a former teacher and used to operate a daycare facility with his ex-wife. He also said people from the Springfield Academy are giving him a hard time because they don’t want competition.

After the discussion at the MDLUC meeting, Schwitz, Avila, Merritt, and Azizi met with Aaron Frank, an aide to Mason Supervisor Penny Gross. According to Schwitz, Frank told Azizi he should put together a more detailed plan, clean up the property, resolve the code compliance issues, and have a meeting with community residents.


  1. I am so tired of all these SFH's with problems. Why can't we have 8 story apt. buildings with frozen yogurt shops and olive oil shops and wine bars instead? :)

    1. Amen! But it is truly too much to hope for

    2. One word why we can't: Gross.

  2. Nah, I think most of the folks who dislike Gross also dislike frozen yogurt shops and wine bars (at least when they are in 8 story buildings). Look at ArlCo, where all the angry SFH owners are in full rebellion against the board that brought them just the kind of development I want to see.

    1. Are you kidding about Gross? What has she done for our community that has benefitted the tax payers? I would like to know.