Tysons Corner, VA

The owner of a mixed-use development told the Vienna Town Council that selling the project to an assisted living facility could address neighbors’ lingering concerns.

Dennis Rice, the owner of J.D.A. Custom Homes, told the Vienna Town Council at a work session last Monday (Sept. 9) that assisted living facilities are interested in buying his mixed-use development at 380 Maple Avenue.

“I think the town needs an assisted living facility, and it’s a good location for it,” Rice said.

Rice said that he has talked with interested assisted living facilities about plans to address lingering concerns from neighbors about the project by:

  • moving back the fourth floor by 15 feet so that it isn’t as close to nearby properties
  • reducing the number of entrances on Wade Hampton Road
  • adding a walking entrance to Maple Avenue
  • removing the balconies
  • keeping the width of Wade Hampton Road to 36 feet
  • including a cafe for visitors, residents and the public in the retail space

“I don’t want to name any particular companies,” Rice said. “We tried to come up with an outline that would address as many of the issues as we could.”

Rice also said that if the development houses seniors instead of families, it would eliminate concerns about the number of new students going to local schools. He added that traffic turning left out of the project could be controlled more if the drivers are employees of the facility instead of residents.

“We could approach six of seven major concerns,” he said, adding that he thinks the assisted living option for the development would be the “least onerous one to the neighbors.”

Rice reassured the Town Council that the building height would stay at 54 feet.

“Is this something worth allowing an assisted living company to pursue?” Rice asked the Town Council.

Councilmember Nisha Patel advised Rice to reach out to neighbors to get input on whether or not they have a preference for the building to become an assisted living facility or not.

“Obviously the property owner can sell to whoever they want to,” Mayor Laurie DiRocco said at the work session.

The interest in turning the approved development into an assisted living facility comes on the heels of the Town Council killing a proposed Sunrise Senior Living Facility at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street. (Sunrise is currently suing the Town Council for allegedly discriminating against seniors and people with disabilities.)

The rejected Sunrise project came up several times during the councilmembers’ discussions about issues they would want to avoid — parking being the main one — if an assisted living facility buys 380 Maple Avenue.

DiRocco said that if Rice does sell the property to an assisted living facility, “I do think having a type of additional parking would be key.”

Rice said that the development has “more than ample parking” and that the companies he spoke to said that they have a no-driving policy. “I think by reducing the number of entrances, we pick up more parking on Wade Hampton,” Rice said.

If Rice sells the development to an assisted living facility, the new owner would need to bring changes to the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Town Council for approval.

“I see the advantages of having an assisted living. I think that would be great,” Councilmember Linda Colbert said, adding that the Town Council would to “be smart about parking.”

“I think some of the changes to the building would be nice,” Colbert said.

Photo via Town of Vienna Planning and Zoning

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A new program for older adults offers the opportunity to try out various forms of art and expression.

ArtsFairfax paired with Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) to design a series of tutorial classes led by artists. Though these classes are spread out through the Northern Virginia region, the Lewinsville Senior Center (1613 Great Falls Street) will host a series of improvisation classes for onstage performance.

“The new program is an off-shoot program from the annual Creative Aging Festival, which celebrates the positive effects the arts and creative engagement have on older adults,” the ArtsFarifax website said.

The improv classes will be led by Heidi Fortune Picker on Wednesdays from 12:45-1:45 p.m. starting on Aug. 15. The program will conclude on Oct. 30.

These classes are available to anyone who is 50 or older and a member at the center.

If someone does not hold a membership, they can apply for one. Memberships can costs $24 to $48 a year, depending on household income.

Other classes throughout the region will be held at the Sully Senior Center (14426 Albemarle Point Place), South County Senior Center (8350 Richmond Hwy, Suite 325) and Lincolnia Senior Center (4710 N. Chambliss Street).

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Fairfax County is looking for volunteers to assist seniors and people with disabilities at the new Lewinsville Center in McLean.

The county needs more volunteers to help take community members to doctor appointments and on grocery-runs, Angela Morlu, a spokesperson for the Department of Family Services, said.

The county’s Volunteer Solution’s webpage has eleven open volunteer positions at the Lewinsville Center — six at the senior center at 1609 Great Falls Street and five at the Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care Center (ADHC) at 1611 Great Falls Street.

Open positions at the senior center and the ADHC include language and music instructors, bingo assistants, dance teachers, donation coordinators and certified fitness instructors.

The centers are also in need of general assignment volunteers who can assist with front desk work, meal assistance or program facilitation.

Anyone interested in the fitness position must be certified in Fairfax County as a Stay Active & Independent for Life (SAIL) instructor and willing to commit to the two required 12-week courses.

According to the Fairfax County website:

The next SAIL Instructor Training will likely be held in August or early September 2019 at Marymount University. If you are not already an approved volunteer with Volunteer Solutions, sign up now so you will be eligible for the course. It takes a few weeks to process new volunteers.

Most of the volunteer positions only require a one- or two-hour commitment each week.

The centers were both completed in June of this year. The senior center features a fitness room and tech access. It also serves as a gathering place for adults over 50. The adult day center helps the mental well-being of seniors and includes amenities such as a library, indoor walking path and garden.

All volunteers must be at least 18 years old and apply for a position through the county’s website.

In addition to the volunteer positions at the two centers, Morlu also said there is “an urgent need” for volunteers with Meals on Wheels, an organization that tackles senior hunger.

The county is looking for a handful of volunteers for Meals on Wheels including a driver who speaks Vietnamese to pick up and deliver meals in the Falls Church area.

Photos via the Fairfax County Government

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The Vienna Town Council rejected the rezoning for the Sunrise Senior Living Facility proposed for downtown Vienna.

The senior facility had previously faced a myriad of concerns around its parking, retail space and location at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street — although a staff presentation prior to the vote on June 17 demonstrated new changes meant to quell some of the issues.

According to a staff presentation, Sunrise reduced the maximum number of residents from 115 to 108, plans to determine the final locations for the bike racks during the site plan approval and added a proffer to secure at least 12 off-site parking spaces for employees — a move meant to address concerns about the project lacking enough parking.

“The intention is not to take from street parking,” Jerry Liang, the senior vice president of development for Sunrise, told the Town Council. “Rather this is Sunrise proffering to enter into an agreement with a property owner somewhere in the area for 12 spaces that employees will be able to utilize… and to handle overflow situations.”

Liang said that they would look away from the center of town that could be reached via a shuttle.

The new proffer seemed to satisfy Councilmember Linda Colbert’s and outgoing Councilmember Tara Bloch’s concerns about parking, leading Bloch to put forward a motion to approve the project.

Before the vote, several other councilmembers voiced issues with the project, and Councilmember Pasha Majdi noted that because of a protest petition, the motion would require five “yes” votes in order to pass.

“I’d hate to see it fail tonight,” Majdi said before the vote. “I’d like to see it be successful. I don’t know how it’s going to go.”

Despite Majdi’s suggestion that the council table the project, Bloch pushed forward the vote to approve the rezoning, which ultimately failed with a 3-4 vote.

Mayor Laurie DiRocco, Majdi, Howard Springsteen and Douglas Noble voted no. Bloch, Colbert and outgoing councilmember Carey Sienicki voted yes.

Rendering via Town of Vienna

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Tysons is now set to get a new senior living facility in two towers behind the Tysons Galleria.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the senior living complex known as The Mather during the board’s meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

The Mather is a part of Cityline Partners LLC’s Arbor Row project near Tysons Galleria, which includes the completed Nouvelle residential building and The Monarch, and plans to transform the back of Tysons Galleria along Westpark Drive into a suite of mixed-use buildings.

Slated to open in 2023, The Mather plans to seek a LEED Gold designation for the building and will be the first Life Plan Community in Tysons, according to a press release from Mather LifeWays, an organization that creates senior living programs and places.

“The Mather will offer apartment homes with SMART home technology, amenity-rich community spaces and luxury of a different kind for those who wish to plan ahead to live life to the fullest,” Mary Leary, the president and chief executive officer of Mather LifeWays, said in a press release.

The one- and two-bedroom room aparments in The Mather will start at $650,000, according to the press release.

Image via Fairfax County Planning Commission 

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A proposed senior living facility in Tysons is heading to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a public hearing tomorrow (June 25).

The Mather, a proposed two-story senior living complex, is a part of Cityline Partners LLC’s Arbor Row project near Tysons Galleria, which includes the completed Nouvelle residential building and The Monarch.

The development would transform the back of Tysons Galleria along Westpark Drive into a suite of mixed-use buildings.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission greenlighted the senior living facility earlier this month despite concerns over the project’s height, size and open space.

Image via Fairfax County Planning Commission 

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The Fairfax County Planning Commission greenlighted yesterday (June 12) a proposed senior living facility in Tysons despite concerns from staff about the height, size and open space.

Fairfax County staff recommended denial of the proposed two-tower senior living complex called The Mather.

The proposed building would go 60 feet above the 225-foot maximum. “The excessive height combined with a narrow building footprint oriented diagonally results in a building mass that inconsistent with adjoining structures and overwhelms the street,” according to the staff report.

Staff also took issue with the developer wanting to move the open space from an area on top of the parking garage to a sloping area behind the parking garage.

According to the staff report:

The three major issues noted above are all interrelated and stem from the manner in which the continuing care facility is proposed to be integrated into the existing Arbor Row development. Staff does not object to the concept of a continuing care facility as a use, and in fact, recognizes the services provided by such a facility are both necessary and desirable within Tysons. However, the continuing care facility has been designed in a way that reflects the unique needs of the applicant’s specific business model, and does not reflect the urban design recommendations of both the Comprehensive Plan and the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines.

While Providence District Planning Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner called the proposal “one of the most complicated applications the commission will recall,” he ultimately brought forth a motion to approve the project.

Before the vote, Niedzielski-Eichner asked staff to address each of the three major concerns and allowed the applicant’s representative, John McGranahan Jr., to respond.

McGranahan argued that the recommended denial by staff was not considering the proposal’s height and size in the context of the surrounding neighborhood.

A staffer said that the mass of the building was considered to be out of context to the nearby buildings and that the applicant’s desire for more height for operational and financial considerations wasn’t enough justification to go above the maximum height.

Staff and McGranahan also disagreed on the relocation and redesign of the open space.

By the end of the back and forth, Niedzielski-Eichner said he was persuaded by the applicant’s reasoning.

Now that the proposal has a favorable recommendation from the Planning Commission, it heads to Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors.

The project is a part of Cityline Partners LLC’s Arbor Row project near Tysons Galleria, which includes the completed Nouvelle residential building and The Monarch. The development aims to transform the back end of Tysons Galleria along Westpark Drive into a suite of mixed-use buildings.

Image via Fairfax County Planning Commission 

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The Lewinsville Center, an “intergenerational facility” with programs for the elderly and children, is now open in McLean.

The new center houses:

  • The Lewinsville Senior Center: a program with a fitness room, tech access, and gathering places for adults 50 and over to take up new hobbies and socialize.
  • Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care: a program designed for memory care, including a gated outdoor garden and fountain, an indoor walking path, library, health clinic and art room.
  • Lewinsville Montessori School and Westgate Child Care Center: colorful play and learn spaces aimed at caring for young children.

The new center is built near The Fallstead, an 82-unit affordable senior living facility, which opened last October.

“The Lewinsville Center seeks to foster a strong sense of community through providing the supports, programs and services which allow individuals and families throughout the neighborhood to continue to contribute their talents and abilities through all of life’s stages,” according to Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services website.

Both the Lewinsville Center and The Fallstead aim to address a lack of senior living and senior care facilities throughout Fairfax County.

Images via Fairfax County

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The Sunrise Senior Living Facility proposed for downtown Vienna received approval from the town’s Planning Commission last night (May 22).

The senior facility has faced a myriad of concerns around its parking, retail space and location at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street.

After public hearings, dozens of residents and some of the planning commissioners said they are worried that the parking spaces might not accommodate all of the visitors, employees, shoppers and roughly 100 residents.

Recent modifications that the Planning Commission OK’d last night dropped the number of units from 83 to 82, removed the mezzanine, reduced the retail to 2,264 square feet, altered the fence height and removed the grand staircase inside the facility — changes the developers said addressed town residents’ previous criticisms.

The changes mirror a solution proposed by Planning Commissioner Mary McCullough at the May 8 meeting to reduce the retail space to free up the parking spaces that retail employees and shoppers would use.

“The improvements are a true reflection that you listened,” McCullough told the developers last night.

While most of the planning commissioners said they thought the modifications improved the project, Commissioners Sharon Baum and David Miller said they still had reservations.

Baum said that she wanted to see more retail space instead of less, while Miller brought up a concern about the senior living facility’s placement.

“Is this the use we want at this corner?” Miller asked, questioning how many of the older residents would visit nearby retail and restaurants. Miller said that he would rather see apartments or condominiums, hinting at younger residents.

Ultimately, the Planning Commission approved the modifications and the proposal.

“Is it perfect? No,” Michael Gelb, who chairs the Planning Commission, said. “I haven’t seen a perfect project yet.”

Next up, the proposal has a Vienna Town Council meeting scheduled for June 3. Town Council has until Aug. 2 to make a decision.

Rendering via Town of Vienna

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Updated at 11:30 a.m. on May 9 — The Planning Commission decided to defer the decision to May 16. A description of The Monarch was corrected. 

A proposed senior living facility in Tysons is headed to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a vote tonight (May 8) that may result in a recommended denial.

Fairfax County planners took issue with the height, design and open space planned for the two-tower senior living complex called The Mather and have recommended denial of the application, the Washington Business Journal reported in late April.

According to the staff report in WBJ’s story:

Staff does not object to the concept of a continuing care facility as a use, and in fact, recognizes the services provided by such a facility are both necessary and desirable within Tysons. However, the continuing care facility has been designed in a way that reflects the unique needs of the applicant’s specific business model, and does not reflect the urban design recommendations of both the Comprehensive Plan and the Tysons Urban Design Guidelines.

The project includes 18- and 27-story tall towers with a podium connecting the towers on the lower levels and 300 independent living units, 78 assisted living units and 18,000 square feet of retail and restaurants on the lower floors.

The project is a part of Cityline Partners LLC’s Arbor Row project near Tysons Galleria, which includes the completed Nouvelle residential building and The Monarch, which is under construction. The development aims to transform the back end of Tysons Galleria along Westpark Drive into a suite of mixed-use buildings.

The proposal is scheduled for a decision at the Planning Commission’s meeting tonight.

Image via Fairfax County Planning Commission 

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