October 22, 2011
Supervisor, Hunter Mill District
Fairfax Board of Supervisors
Pursuant to our brief conversation this afternoon, I would like to re-cap some thoughts that may make the redevelopment of the Fairways project on North Shore Drive by JBG a major Win/Win for both the Reston community and JBG.
If the emphasis of the proposed development were changed from 900 – 1,000 sq. ft. units suitable for singles or couples were instead targeted to the senior/handicapped market with attendant design modifications, many of the problems cited by opponents of the project would vanish.
1. Instantly the traffic issue would be resolved. Seniors and most handicapped individuals would not need to drive to and from the complex during rush hours.
2. The Reston community badly needs more senior housing. I have introduced this concept at 3 “Reston for A Lifetime” meetings after housing committee reports which stated this need. In each instance, the idea of Fairways being an independent senior facility has been greeted with great enthusiasm. Folks would LOVE to live with their friends in close proximity but still have their privacy.
3. The expense of shifting the market focus for this development would be minimal during design/building. A shift to senior housing would require all visitible residences. (No barrier entrances, 36” wide doorways, handicapped accessible powder room on first floor. Of course, this last item would only accrue to the circumference located town house units as apt. units already have toilet facilities on the main floor.)
4. The suggested percentage of affordable housing units could house either needy seniors OR on-site caregivers/helpers for the senior/handicapped population. This mix would again be an obvious win/win for all involved as transportation expense / time lost to a job would be unnecessary for the caregivers who are mostly LPN’s working for minimum wages.
5. The targeted population, seniors, have already worked and accrued savings to finance their housing purchase. During this era of strict mortgage rules, this should be an obvious advantage for the sale of a these units.
6. Research tells us that handicapped accessible units typically are in huge demand and the cost for units with such accommodations typically command higher sales prices than standard units that more than compensate for the modest additional expense to the builder during new construction.
7. The location of a senior complex across from an elementary school is a pairing made in “heaven.” ‘Inclusion in community’ and ‘being of service to community’ are two of the primary foci of Reston for a Lifetime in exploring requirements for a rich and meaningful life for seniors.
As you know, I am actively involved in both Reston for a Lifetime and RCA’s Reston 2020. Both organizations heartily approve of this compromise plan that would flip the script on JBG from villain to hero. Isn’t providing something highly desirable and needed as opposed to a negatively viewed, problem producing alternative sheer serendipity?
I hope you agree that this makes great business sense for JBG and enhances the Lake Anne neighborhood that is the hallmark of the Reston identity. In addition, it certainly makes sense from an environmental standpoint. The density of the current plan should be built in the TOD where public transportation is readily available. The senior demographic does not require a commensurate level of mobility.
Thank you for your kindness in considering this concept and introducing it to Mr. Schlichting (sp?) of JBG. Your tireless devotion to the Reston ideal is greatly appreciated.
Co-Chair, Reston 2020