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Planning Commission Defers Decision on McLean Senior Living Facility

The fate of a potential senior living facility in McLean has been put on hold.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission deferred a decision to permit an independent living facility for adults 60 and older on Chain Bridge Road on March 3. The decision on the project is now scheduled for March 17 during the commission’s meeting, which will start at 7:30 p.m.

Dranesville District Commissioner John Ulfedler proposed deferring the decision in order to address issues presented during the March 3 public hearing.

Tri-State Development Companies secured a recommendation from Fairfax County’s planning staff in February for the development of the 3.23-acre site. The company has proposed replacing existing single-family dwellings at 1638 and 1642 Chain Bridge Road with 35 independent living units.

When presenting the staff report, Fairfax County senior planner Kelly Posusney noted that 15% of the dwellings will be provided as affordable, 55% of the site will be open space, and 90 total parking spaces would be provided via private garages attached to the individual dwellings and surface parking in the development.

McGuireWoods managing partner Greg Riegle, who represents Tri-State on the project, said the development would feature on-site management to assist residents with day-to-day living and amenities like fitness programs and entertainment.

“A commitment to provide the services, amenities and access to care appropriate to an aging population drives almost everything about this application,” Riegle said.

While there was some support from the public during the March 3 public hearing, many also raised questions and concerns about the potential for the project to increase traffic in the community, the development’s height, proposed setbacks, noise and light pollution, and storm water management.

Riegle said the project team is working on storm water management concerns by making downstream improvements. The plans also include on-site storm water management facilities to control an increase in runoff, addressing inadequate pipe capacity and flooding of properties downstream.

He added the proposed height of the residential units would not exceed 50 feet. The project overview lists the height of the units as between 36 and 40 feet, “depending on the style of roof.”

Multiple community members called for further evaluation of the development’s possible impact on traffic. Resident Elizabeth Yu requested that a traffic signal be installed at the intersection of Chain Bridge Road and Davidson Road, which runs perpendicular to the project site.

However, Riegle said an analysis performed by the project applicant and VDOT guidelines showed the project does not warrant installation of a signal.

Tri-State’s request to reduce the required 50-foot yard setback to between 27 and 34 feet, depending on the side of the lot, was a particular point of concern for Bobbi Bowman, the abutting neighbor to the site. She specifically requested that a proposed clubhouse, outdoor dining area, and fire pit be relocated from an area adjacent to her property to another location on the site.

“This clubhouse restaurant is essentially a business located adjacent to my home and my very low-density and quiet neighborhood,” Bowman said. “The clubhouse with its noise, and lights and happy hours is even closer to my home and our neighborhood because the applicant has asked to shrink the setbacks.”

Riegle said the clubhouse will be 83 feet from the common property line and the outdoor dining area 88 feet from the neighboring building, but he added that the issue is still being addressed.

“I think we can do some things with landscaping or the special arrangement to potentially improve that,” Riegle said. “We’ve conveyed that to the resident and we will continue to work on that between now and when this application is brought back for decision.”

Map via Fairfax County

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