|A shopping center on Seminary has a dance studio, veterinarian, mattress store, carpet store, martial arts studio, restaurants, bakeries, and a church.|
The county plans to relocate the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter from its current location on Moncure Avenue to 5914 Seminary Road, on the site of the former Fairfax Animal Hospital.
At a meeting of the Mason District Land Use Committee (MDLUC) Nov. 21, Christopher King, the owner of the Checheho Ethiopian restaurant, said there already are a lot of transients hanging around the area, which is not well lighted at night. He urged the county to drop its policy that calls for shelters to require clients to stay outside during the day.
Adam Bizuwork, the owner the Eyo restaurant, which just opened in mid-November on Seminary Road, said he’s seen vagrants, drug users, needles, crack pipes, and mattresses on the site while his building was being renovated.
After Eyo opened, he said, vagrants harassed customers, asking them for money, and “one guy removed all his clothes inside the restaurant.”
Bizuwork worries that situation will get worse if a homeless shelter opens across the street.
Shahram Yavari, the co-owner of a shopping center on Seminary Road, said his stores have been broken into at least five times this year. There have also been shootings, drugs, and vandalism.
A developer didn’t want to redevelop on a site next to the homeless shelter, so “you’re dumping it on us,” Yavari told county officials at the MDLUC meeting.
Relocation of the shelter was part of the county’s plan for redeveloping the Southeast Quadrant of Bailey’s Crossroads at Columbia Pike and Moncure Avenue. Fairfax County had approved a land swap with AvalonBay, but the company decided not to go forward. County officials now hope to find another developer.
The MDLUC agreed to endorse an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan that would allow the shelter relocation project to go forward. Public hearings have been scheduled before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Dec. 1 and the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 24. The Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation approved the project last week.
The amendment is needed because the 20,000-square foot site is zoned C-8, allowing a maximum intensity of .50 floor area ratio (FAR), while the proposed project calls for a zoning special exception to achieve a FAR of .70. That would permit a larger, three-story building than allowed under the current FAR limit.
County officials say the shelter needs to be replaced because it’s outdated – it was built in 1987 – and doesn’t meet current accessibility standards. The new shelter will have 15 supportive housing units for people transitioning out of homelessness, as well as 50 beds for the homeless. Funding to build a new shelter was included in the human services bond passed by voters Nov. 8.