The Community Issue of the Proposed Redevelopment of the PH Barn Property on Cherri Drive

Monday, January 23, 2012 10:08 AM | Deleted user

The Community Issue of the Proposed Redevelopment of the PH Barn Property on Cherri Drive

In this post is all the information, pros and cons, concerning the proposed redevelopment of the old barn on Cherri Drive in Pimmit Hills. The Fairfax County Park Authority wants to give the property, for free, to another County organization, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB). CSB wants to build a group home on the property that would house six elderly disabled people.

The Pimmit Hills Citizens Association (PHCA) President Matthew Martz announced via the PH email list that Fairfax County was holding an open meeting for residents at Lemon Road Elementary School on January 11, 2012 concerning this redevelopment. He, along with other PH residents attended to hear from the Community Services Board discuss their plans. Supervisor John Foust was in attendance and he said it was up to the Pimmit Hills community whether a group home would be built on the property or not and he will back the majority decision. PHCA President Martz said the community would need to have an official vote on the issue and invited the CSB to speak at the next PHCA Community Meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm at the Pimmit Hills Center on Lisle Avenue.

At this PHCA meeting, numerous CSB representatives will explain their plans and answer questions from Pimmit Hills citizens. Supervisor John Foust will also be there. A vote will be taken at the meeting of PHCA members on whether or not to support this group home proposal.

IMPORTANT: According to the PHCA Bylaws, you must be a current, paid member of the Pimmit Hills Citizens Association in order to vote. We will use the membership list on our membership website to verify who is an official member. If you want to vote on this issue but are not a current, paid member, join now securely and quickly online. Membership dues are only $20/year.

The place to discuss the pros and cons of this issue is at the March 6 PHCA Meeting. While the issue has become controversial, we expect that citizens treat one another with respect and courtesy and listen to all sides of the issue. The PHCA Board is taking no sides and is there to facilitate the meeting of PHCA members and will support what the PHCA members decide.

Summary of the March 6 PHCA Meeting

Background Info:

Here are PHCA President Matthew Martz's notes he took from the January 11, 2012 County meeting for Pimmit Hills residents:

Tonight's meeting was hosted at Lemon Road Elementary by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board a.k.a. CSB, to discuss the proposal to develop Pimmit Barns as a site for a group home. The meeting was attended by six county staff and Supervisor Foust.


The meeting started off with an introduction of the CSB and its services. Then an overview of CSB's development proposal for the Pimmit Barns site. Then moved onto how CSB group homes operate in the community and how it will affect those living closest to it.


Lastly, they discussed the opportunities for the community to provide input of the proposal and the time-frame in which the whole project will go through if the proposal is accepted (please note that this is in the beginning stages of a proposal).


Here is the gist of the two hour long meeting; the Park Authority owns both the Barn and the property on Cherri Drive and they no longer want either, so they have decided to ask the Fairfax County if they wanted it before they opened it up for private auction.


In response, the CSB wanted to put together a proposal for a six bedroom group home for aging residents who need accessible, universally designed housing. It will be a permant home for people who require daily support and assistance. There will be professional staff on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Here are some of the questions I asked and the responses I got:


Will the dynamic of the persons living in the house ever change? Meaning, will there ever be people with substance abuse problems be in the house?

There will be a very small chance of this ever happening because of the demand on accessibility housing for aging residents. If there was ever going to be a switch the county would let the community know beforehand.


How often will emergency vehicles be needed at the house?

There will be very few calls if any to emergency personnel. Once a resident gets to a point where they can no longer live in the house without needing constant medical support, the resident will be move from the location.


Will the Park Service receive money for giving up the land?

No, there will be no money given to the Park Service for this land. The Park service will give up the property to Fairfax County. The Park Service does not need to necessarily add park land for this transaction, but they made note that our parks could use some work and that we as a community have been asking for better support from the Park Service for a while now and that they would get on it.


How large will this house be compared to other houses in Pimmit Hills?

The property is a little over half an acre in size. The CSB is very careful about building group houses in neighborhoods and will make sure that the house blends in with the neighboring houses. It will be a one-floor house about 4,000 square feet. They also said that they would not change any zoning procedures and would follow the guidelines down to the last inch (being that the county inspects all of the work anyway).


What is the time-frame for this project?

We are looking at about two to three years before the house would be built and operational. This is just the pencil and paper stage.


During the meeting I expressed the need to have a presentation to the Association so that more of our community members to hear the plans, ask questions and allow us time to vote and put together a formal yes or no to Supervisor Foust.


If the community says yes, then Supervisor Foust will give the go ahead for the project and if the community has an overwhelming no, then he will shoot down the idea and the Park Service will put the land up for private auction.


The staff agreed to having another presentation for the community during our March 6th meeting. There will be a lot of questions from our community and the staffers are great at responding to them. I would say that after the meeting not a single person was upset about the proposal and was okay with the idea.


In all, I feel like there are really no negatives for Pimmit Hills mainly for the fact that if the county does not take ownership of the property and turn it into a group home, the Park Service will put the land up for auction and a private contractor will buy the property and we have a huge chance of getting another McMansion or even two because of how large the property is. This would mean that we would at least have a say no matter what happens on the property if the county owns it.


What I propose, is to structure our March 6th meeting around the Barns Proposal presentation and allow the staffers from the CSB to come in and talk to the association. Then, either at the end of the meeting we vote on a position of yes or no of the proposal or set up another meeting in April to do the vote. The CSB and Supervisor Foust will move onto the next step of the process once we have as an association taken a stance on it.


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