|An illustration of the proposed senior housing project on Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners.|
That proposal – submitted by First Christian Church at 6165 Leesburg Pike – is one of six redevelopment projects in Mason District that have been nominated to be included in the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to decide on Dec. 2 whether the projects should be included in the Department of Planning and Development’s work program for 2021.
The other Mason District include:
- A major mixed-use redevelopment project in Annandale between Little River Turnpike and Hummer Road.
- A storage facility on Ravensworth Road in Annandale.
- A handful of new homes on a single-family lot on Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners.
- An expansion of Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Seven Corners to include senior housing.
- An assisted living facility on Arlington Boulevard in Seven Corners.
If these projects are added to the work program, there would be additional analyses by staff, rezoning applications, and more hearings.
The proposal for senior housing on Leesburg Pike – submitted by First Christian Church in partnership with Wesley Housing – calls for 113 housing units and up to 5,000 square feet of medical or general office on a 6.8-acre property.
Marty Machowsky, chair of the Mason District Task Force, told the Planning Commission the task force agreed that the First Christian Church proposal be added to the work program but only if it includes a new stormwater system to prevent flooding in Ravenwood Park and surrounding neighborhoods and if the trees adjacent to single-family homes are saved.
Speaking as a private citizen, however, Machowsky expressed skepticism about the project because of previous negative experiences with a nearby development.
When the Reserve at Oakwood, an infill housing development was discussed in 2013, Ravenwood Park residents were assured their concerns about stormwater and tree buffers would be met. Instead, Machowsky said, flooding got worse, and one homeowner had to spend $40,000 to repair water damage. Also, trees that were supposed to be saved were cut down and other trees planted by the developer died.
Barbara Wolf, president of the Ravenwood Park Citizens Association, said many residents believe the proposal is too dense, with a large multifamily building close to single-family houses.
Rodney North, a Ravenwood Park resident, said he opposed the church proposal because it would destroy a wooded area that provides a habitat for wildlife and a green space in a sea of concrete.
Other residents also raised concerns about insufficient stormwater management, as well as increased traffic, light pollution, an insufficient buffer between a multifamily building and single-family houses, and the loss of trees.
Rev. Steven Moore, the pastor of First Christian Church, said that by filling the need for affordable housing, the proposal fits in with the church’s mission to support the community by feeding the hungry and helping the homeless. He promised to hold outreach meetings on the project with local residents.
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The only other person who spoke in favor of the project was Saif Rahman, director of public affairs at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, said First Christian and the mosque collaborate on community projects.
We’ll discuss Dar Al-Hijrah’s expansion plans and the other projects proposed for Mason District in future blog posts.