Old-Time Self Advocacy in Springfield

Greenspring Village residents advocated for the changes to their continuing care retirement community approved by the Board of Supervisors Feb. 20, 2018.

“This application responds to a number of issues that residents have raised that would improve their living situation. I thank Erickson for making this investment in the facility,” said Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay. “I have been looking forward to this application coming forward.”

Erickson Living builds and manages continuing care retirement communities, housing more than 24,000 seniors around the country, including Greenspring Village, according to its website.

The approved modifications include expansion of an existing aquatic and fitness center 25-feet in height, renovated dining facilities, salons and outdoor terraces, according to Planning Commission documents.

The facility will also be able to build a 20-foot-high parking deck on top of an existing parking lot to add 42 parking spaces that can be used by staff and visitors.

“The parking deck will help alleviate a parking shortage where employees have parked offsite, legally but problematic to the community,” said McKay.

“Current residents are keeping their vehicles onsite longer than anticipated, as a symbol of their independence. As a result, more onsite parking is needed,” according to planning documents.

The Lee District Land Use Committee approved the action unanimously, according to McKay and attorney Nicholas Cumings.

“Greenspring Village is a continuing care retirement community that provides Fairfax County residents an opportunity to age in place and to continue to live in Fairfax County as they grow older,” said Cumings, of Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh.

In Fairfax County, 12.4 percent of residents are over 65 years old, according to the U.S. Census, and that population is growing.

Fairfax County adopted the Fairfax County 50+ Community Action Plan on Sept. 23, 2014. The Action Plan includes 31 initiatives regarding housing, transportation, community engagement, services, safety and health and long-range planning, embracing the needs of the growing senior population.

THE MODIFICATIONS at Greenspring Village will not result in any additional residential units and there will be no changes in hours or previous proffer agreements, said Cumings.

The property abuts Accotink Creek, floodplains and Environmental Quality Corridor (EQC), and Erickson Living previously dedicated a portion of the original rezoning area that included these environmental areas to the Fairfax County Park Authority.

The expansion will allow for indoor aquatic recreation (such as aquatic volleyball), an enlarged lap pool, enlarged gym and fitness center to include locker rooms, and an indoor court for activities (such as pickleball), according to Planning documents.

The Planning Commission recommended its approval at its public hearing on Jan. 24, 2018.

“Both of the proposed improvements are shielded from view along the Franconia Springfield Parkway by the existing onsite buildings and the existing vegetation along the property’s street frontage. The proposed aquatic and fitness center is within an interior courtyard, wrapped on all sides by buildings two-to-five stories in height,” according to planning documents, presented to the Planning Commission in January and Board of Supervisors in February.

ERICKSON LIVING ALSO PROPOSES to build a new continuing-care community at the 82-acre property of the former Northern Virginia Training Center at 9911 Braddock Road, according to county documents.

On Oct. 24, 2017 the Board of Supervisors authorized the consideration of a Comprehensive Plan amendment for the Northern Virginia Training Center and adjacent State Police Site.

“The Plan amendment process should be an open one, considering all potential uses, not just the prospective owner’s,” said Supervisor John Cook.

The process includes the nine-acre property adjacent to the training center that is currently used by the State Police. “That property also has never been planned and some planning effort now could help inform any future changes in ownership of that parcel,” Cook said.

The Board of Supervisors requested that staff begin a process to consider all potential uses for the site, and the Training Center Task Force was formed.

While the task force is discussing the best use of the property, Erickson has purchased the property and shared plans to develop the property. The company proposes 1,100 apartments, down 100 after hearing community concerns about traffic, plus 150 acute care beds, according to minutes of Task Force meetings.

Erickson shared that there would be approximately 500 staff working at the facility, including professionals, para-professionals, support staff and students, working in shifts.

Erikson has secured the property and has security watching to keep it from being a gathering place. Empty buildings and the surrounding area is being used for police and SWAT training, according to task force documents.

The Training Center Task Force had four meetings in January and February this year, and has three more scheduled.

For more on past and future meetings, see https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-zoning/plan-amendments/training-center-site/meetings

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