Local Residents Claim Victory in McLean Group Homes Fight
Vernon Miles June 4, 2019 at 3:15pm
The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) could finally be weighing in tomorrow night regarding the group homes controversy, but the fight may already be over.
A draft resolution planned to be discussed at MCA’s Wednesday (June 5) meeting would oppose a special exception that would allow the Newport Academy, a for-profit therapy and rehabilitation program for teens, to open a facility at 1620, 1622 and 1624 Davidson Road, located in a residential neighborhood near McLean High School.
But the proposed resolution comes late in the game — local residents started protesting the issue more than two months ago.
A grassroots group opposing a rehabilitation facility recently claimed victory, although the sourcing for that win remains unclear.
An administrator on the Davidson and Kurtz Road Rehab Facility Facebook page — a nearly 500 member group that had been a discussion board for residents opposed to the development — said last Tuesday (May 28) he received the following statement from the Newport Academy:
Newport Academy is the nation’s leading provider of mental health residential and outpatient treatment for teens and young adults. As such, we have received direct requests from parents, clinicians, insurance companies and other referral sources to bring our well-recognized adolescent mental health treatment program to the Northern Virginia market. To that end, we acquired multiple properties to extend our reach more formally into the McLean community. Although these group homes are fully legal and protected under the Fair Housing Act, as well as other applicable federal, Virginia and Fairfax County laws, Newport Academy has listened to the community’s feedback and has opted to modify its expansion plans by ceasing planned openings on Davidson Road.
Our commitment to service the Northern Virginia market remains intact. We look forward to opening these much-needed services in McLean in the near future and hope to keep the lines of communication open with the community and its elected officials as we seek to contribute in a positive way towards addressing the mental health crisis in the greater DC area.
After repeated calls to the main company line and to the group’s community liaison in McLean over a week, Tysons Reporter was unable to confirm the source of the statement.
Staff at Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust’s office said they received an identical statement, but could not get confirmation from the Newport Academy that they were the source.
Two weeks ago, Fairfax County Zoning Administrator Leslie Johnson wrote in a letter that the facility would not be permitted as a by-right use and would require approval from the Board of Supervisors. Foust had previously said he would oppose the development if it was brought to the Board of Supervisors for a vote.
The Facebook group shut down one day after the statement allegedly from the Newport Academy was posted, though some members have already started another splinter groupto continue discussing the facility and other community concerns.
What will happen with the other proposed group homes not addressed in Johnson’s letter — like the one at 1318 Kurtz Road — remains unclear. The MCA resolution states that the group will revisit the facts regarding the Kurtz Road property.
The MCA meeting starts at at 7 p.m. in the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).