From the Annandale Blog

Plans outlined for new Bailey's Crossroads homeless shelter


Fairfax County is going ahead with plans to relocate the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter to a site on Seminary Road – despite the fact that plans for redeveloping the current site fell through.

The new three-story facility would be built on a 20,000 square-foot site occupied by a vacant building that used to house the Fairfax Animal Hospital.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal Dec. 1. A hearing before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Jan. 24.

The current shelter, at 3525 Moncure Avenue, needs to be replaced because it’s outdated, David Stinson of the Department of Planning and Zoning, said at a meeting of the Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation Nov. 15. It was built in 1987 and doesn’t meet current accessibility requirements.

The new shelter would have 50 beds for homeless adults, the same number as in the current shelter. It would also have 15 personal living quarters in accordance with the county’s Housing First Strategy to provide permanent supportive housing to people moving on from homelessness. Those units would be on the second and third floors. The shelter would be on the first floor and basement level.

Construction could start in early 2018 if the design and approval processes go smoothly, and the building could be finished in late fall of 2019. Construction funds will come from a bond passed by voters Nov. 8.

The property is zoned C-8 allowing a maximum intensity of .50 floor area ratio (FAR). The county’s plan for the new shelter calls for a FAR of .70, so a zoning special exception would have to be approved.

The new shelter would be less than quarter of a mile from its current location. It would be within walking distance of six bus stops and would provide the same services – counseling, case management, and hypothermia prevention – as the current shelter.

The county had originally planned to relocate the Bailey’s Crossroads shelter to facilitate the redevelopment of the Southeast Quadrant along Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. AvalonBay had proposed building apartments on the site occupied by the shelter, and the county and county agreed to a land swap to make that happen. AvalonBay backed out, however, just before the deal was to be finalized.

According to project coordinator Joan Beacham, of the Department of Public Works, AvalonBay withdrew because it determined the project was not economically feasible.

Because the county hadn’t been able to find a permanent site for the shelter, it proposed relocating it to a temporary facility next to the Lincolnia Senior Center, a plan strongly opposed by nearby residents.

Last summer, the county found the Seminary Road property for a permanent shelter, at just about the same time the AvalonBay deal fell through.

The removal of the shelter from Moncure Avenue would “clear the way for the redevelopment of the Southeast Quadrant,” Stinson said. The county is discussing options for redevelopment with the landowner, but nothing has been proposed.

The county’s plan for a new office building for various human services programs in the Southeast Quadrant is still on the books, pending another public/private redevelopment partnership. “Those plans are flexible,” Beacham said.

The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan envisions the area where the new shelter will be located would eventually be redeveloped as a mixed-use “village scale” town center with retail, 300 multifamily housing units, offices, a park, and institutional uses.

The new shelter would take up half an acre of a proposed five-acre park. An old airplane hangar nearby could be converted to an indoor recreation space, Stinson said. However, any plans to redevelop that area could be many years away.