Tysons Corner, VA

Sunrise is eyeing the site of an approved mixed-use development after the Vienna Town Council killed plans for a Sunrise facility farther up Maple Avenue.

Now, Sunrise wants to open an assisted living facility at 380 Maple Avenue, according to a Nov. 1 submission to the town.

That spot is currently the site of a contentious, approved redevelopment, which would add a four-floor building with ground-floor retail and multi-family condominium units at 380 Maple Avenue.

From Families to Seniors

The Vienna Town Council approved the plans for 380 Maple Avenue in June. But after new councilmembers joined in July, the Vienna Town Council decided to hold a public hearing on possibly rescinding the rezoning application.

In September, Dennis Rice, the owner and developer behind an approved mixed-use development at 380 Maple Avenue, told the Vienna Town Council that selling the project to an assisted living facility could address neighbors’ lingering concerns.

“I think the town needs an assisted living facility, and it’s a good location for it,” Rice told the council in September, adding that having the development house seniors instead of families would eliminate concerns about the number of new students going to local schools.

First Proposed Facility Faced Backlash

Sunrise’s original plans to bring a facility to the Maple Avenue and Center Street received a myriad of concerns from residents and councilmembers over parking, retail and the downtown location.

In June, outgoing Councilmember Tara Bloch put forward a motion to approve the project, which would have needed five “yes” votes to pass because of a protest petition, and the Town Council ended up rejecting the proposed 82-unit facility with a 3-4 vote.

A month later, Sunrise Senior Living decided to sue Vienna officials for $30 million, alleging that the Town Council’s rejection violated the Virginia Fair Housing Law by discriminating against seniors and people with disabilities and that the Town Council treated Sunrise differently from other developers seeking rezoning under the Maple Avenue Commercial Zone.

The Town of Vienna disputes the allegation that the council violated the Virginia Fair Housing Law, according to Town Attorney Steve Briglia.

Next Steps 

Town officials will soon look over Sunrise’s new plans.

The Board of Architectural Review is scheduled to discuss the facility at its work session tomorrow (Friday) at 8 a.m.

Next Wednesday (Nov. 13), the Planning Commission’s work session is set to focus on a proposed proffer amendment and conditional use permit for Sunrise.

Image via Town of Vienna 

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The McLean Medical Building’s days are numbered now that Sunrise Senior Living is building a senior living facility on the site.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently approved the facility, which will add 140 beds, 40 employees at peak times and a public garden, along with open space for private use by the residents.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust praised Sunrise at the meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 15), calling the facility’s public garden “an excellent contribution to downtown McLean.”

Sunrise tried to bring a senior living facility to McLean two years ago.

In 2017, the board nixed Sunrise’s plans to open a facility at 1988 Kirby Road over concerns that it would overwhelm the surrounding residential area and worsen traffic.

“The last time Sunrise came before this board in Dranesville, it wasn’t this much fun,” Foust said. “The funny thing was a lot of the testimony pointed to this [location].”

Now, Sunrise plans to raze the McLean Medical Building on the site at 1515 Chain Bridge Road. A historical link was uncovered earlier this year tying the building, which is not listed on any official historical register, to the doctor behind the first polio vaccine.

“They have taken the perfect site and done it exactly right,” Foust said.

First image via DPZ, second image via Fairfax County

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Plans are no longer in the works for an assisted living facility in the Vienna area after facing criticism by the Planning Commission and residents.

The proposed 86-bed facility would provide accommodations for people with dementia or memory loss at 2347 Hunter Mill Road, adjacent to the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd.

The applicant, Orr-BSL Hunter Mill, LLC, wanted to build a two-story building with approximately 43,680 square feet of space, along with outdoor courtyards and a garden for the facility’s residents.

Fairfax County planners gave the proposal a favorable recommendation in the staff report, writing,”In staff’s opinion, the development has been thoughtfully designed to be compatible with adjacent residential uses and to preserve the property’s rural character.”

Many residents opposed the proposed project during a four-hour-long public hearing in July, arguing to the Planning Commission that the proposal does not meet the county’s comprehensive-plan requirements.

Some of the commissioners agreed — including John Carter, the commissioner who oversees the Hunter Mill District.

Carter and another commissioner brought up a long list of issues with the proposal and special needs of the site at the Sept. 12 meeting — like pointing out that emergency vehicles might have trouble traveling to and from the site, which has a two-lane scenic by-way policy.

Carter also said the proposed facility’s size would not fit in with surrounding buildings. “It’s a football field in length,” he said.

Carter deferred the proposal indefinitely — essentially killing it since he said that other developers are eying the site.

“This is only one case. I expect more cases on this site,” he said.

Dranesville District John Ulfelder added that the site is pending being listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

While Ulfelder said that schools and churches would be appropriate on the site, he said that he was worried that a medical facility would “erode” the site’s history.

The application was withdrawn at the end of September.

Image via Fairfax County

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The McLean Medical Building may soon become the future site of a Sunrise Senior Living Facility.

Sunrise identified a need for more assisted living facilities in McLean — an area known for being disproportionately elderly. This is Sunrise’s second attempt in recent years to bring a senior living facility to McLean.

The site currently at 1515 Chain Bridge Road is home to a medical office building from 1964 with substantial surface parking. (In the spring, a historical link was uncovered tying the building to the doctor behind the first polio vaccine.)

While the McLean Medical Building is not listed on any official historical register, county staff have requested that Sunrise have an architectural historian conduct a study.

The proposed facility would have 140 beds and 40 employees at peak times. Most of the parking would be underground. The proposal would also have a public garden and open space for private use by the residents.

The McLean Citizens Association decided to support Sunrise’s proposed facility in September.

“Rob [Jackson, the chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee,] mentioned that — some time ago — the MCA had opposed a Sunrise Senior Living facility proposed at the intersection of Westmoreland Street and Kirby Road for being incompatible with the neighborhood,” according to the notes for the MCA meeting.

In 2017, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors nixed Sunrise’s plans to open a 90-bed official facility at 1988 Kirby Road, with county officials saying at the time that the proposal would overwhelm the surrounding residential area and worsen traffic, Inside NoVa reported.

The new site seems favorable to county staff.

“The assisted living facility will serve as a transitional use between the residential development in the north and west and the commercial development to the east,” the staff report said.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended approval of the senior living facility at the new spot in September.

A sign at the site indicates that the project goes to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 15

Image via Fairfax County

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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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