Newsletter

Zoning Appeals Board Says Planned McLean Facility is a Group Home

Updated  at 7:15 p.m. — Corrects James Hart’s name.

Fairfax County’s Board of Zoning Appeals is upholding a zoning determination that would allow a controversial teen rehab facility to open in McLean.

Newport Academy, a therapy program for teens with mental health issues, is looking to open at 1318 Kurtz Road, claiming that the location is a by-right use, which won’t require approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Last year, Fairfax County Zoning Administrator Leslie Johnson determined that the proposed facility in the Salona Village neighborhood is a group residential facility.

Several McLean residents submitted appeals to try to overturn the zoning administrator’s letter, arguing that the facility should be designated as a congregate or medical use facility.

At the Board of Zoning Appeals’ public hearing in January, the appellants raised concerns about noise, falling property values, safety risks and increased traffic. The board decided to defer the decision to allow for more time to consider the arguments.

Today (Wednesday), the board upheld the zoning administrator’s determination, but not without a lengthy discussion on the case, which several board members called “difficult.”

James Hart and Paul Hammack, Jr. — the two members who said the facility should be labeled a congregate or medical use facility — said that the zoning administrator looked at the predominant use of the facility rather than all of the uses.

“It’s difficult to apply a one-size-fits-all,” Hart said. “It is not exclusively one category or the other… It is a hybrid.”

Hammack said he agreed with Hart’s assessment, adding that the criteria for a group home “is not spelled out” like it is for a congregate or medical use.

The other board members had different reasons for backing the zoning administrator.

“I think that if you look at the definitions, the congregate use is talking about general care, and I don’t think this is general medical care,” John Cowherd said.

Thomas Smith, III said that the “difficult case” had compelling testimony on both sides, but that he ultimately found the zoning administrator’s determination more persuasive.

Hart’s motion to overturn the zoning administrator’s determination failed in a 2-4 vote.

The lawyer representing Newport Academy told Tysons Reporter in January that the company does plan to open the facility at Kurtz Road if the Board of Zoning Appeals upholds Johnson’s determination.

Previously, the rehab company decided to drop its plans to open another McLean location along Davidson Road, after the zoning administrator said it would be a congregate living facility.

While the vote today is a win for Newport Academy, the fight may not be over.

“We anticipate that whatever happens, this may be heading to court,” Hart said.

Recent Stories

The Georgia-based pizza restaurant Mellow Mushroom will open a location in Vienna (courtesy Shannon Curl/Mellow Mushroom) Mellow Mushroom is officially coming to the Town of Vienna. The Atlanta, Georgia-based pizza…

Bicycles parked outside the Greensboro Metro station entrance in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Fairfax County hopes to increase the availability of bicycle parking spaces by establishing a tiered…

This Saturday, December 3 Wolf Trap’s Holiday Sing-A-Long returns to the Filene Center after two years of virtual performances! Guests are invited to take part in this free tradition that…

The Boro in Tysons will kick off its winter holiday festivities this Saturday (courtesy The Boro) Officially, winter won’t come for another three weeks, but as far as the Tysons…

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.

Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list