Fairfax County Zoning Discrimination



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6/07/2019

Fairfax County Zoning Discrimination

By Janice F

In light of recent events in McLean, Virginia, when a corporation purchased four homes “by right” in order to run for-profit group homes, it has become apparent that the State of Virginia, and by extension the County of Fairfax, lack the appropriate definitions, guidelines and zoning requirements to adequately provide oversight for this burgeoning industry within our residential neighborhoods.

    Regardless of the intended use of these corporately-owned facilities, I believe that these businesses need to be held to the same standards to which any other residents are required to adhere - if not stricter standards given the vulnerable populations that are paying for their services.   Doing anything less amounts to zoning discrimination.

For example, under Fairfax County’s new short-term lease (STL) regulation:

  • A dwelling may be used for STL for no more than 60 nights per calendar year.

  • The maximum number of lodgers per night may not exceed 6 adults, except where the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code requires fewer occupants. 

  • The maximum number of rental contracts per night is one. All lodgers occupying a STL must be associated with the same rental contract.

  • An STL Operator must be a permanent resident of the property hosting the STL. 

Contrast that with corporate “group homes,” which signs contracts for patients that receive treatment for somewhere between 6 and 10 weeks at a time.  Point by point:

  • They will have STL all year

  • They are allowed a maximum of 8 lodgers, but in actuality many more with staff on site 24/7

  • They will have up to 8 concurrent contracts per house

  • There will be NO permanent resident 

Similarly, Fairfax County’s Home Occupation permits have the following limitations (italics added):

  1. The home occupation permit applicant and other persons who use the dwelling as their primary residence may be involved in the home occupation use. In addition, one (1) nonresident person, whether paid or not for their services, may be involved in the home occupation use on the property provided that there is only one (1) such person on the property and the hours of such attendance shall be limited to 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

  2. Only one commercial vehicle shall be permitted per dwelling unit

Lastly, Special Use permits, such as are required by doctors who want to practice from their homes, must ensure the following (italics added):


  • The proposed use shall be such that it will be harmonious with and will not adversely affect the use or development of neighboring properties in accordance with the applicable zoning district regulations and the adopted comprehensive plan.

  • The proposed use shall be such that pedestrian and vehicular traffic associated with such use will not be hazardous or conflict with the existing and anticipated traffic in the neighborhood.

  • In addition, a preliminary stormwater management plan that includes information about the adequacy of downstream drainage, including the sufficiency of capacity of any storm drainage pipes and other conveyances into which stormwater runoff will be conveyed.

I understand and support these regulations and limitations as written, as they are meant to preserve the residential nature and integrity of our neighborhoods.  These are substantial requirements that residents must adhere to (when operating home businesses, building sheds, or renting their homes out on AirB&B) that inexplicably do not similarly apply to these corporate ventures.  Simply because their clientele falls under the FHA should not give them, as the owner of the property, carte blanche exemption from county zoning requirements. Regardless of the use, all property owners, be they individuals or corporations, should be treated in an equal fashion with no discrimination based upon “by right” use or other factors.

As these businesses are a relatively new phenomenon following on the heels of the ability to collect insurance for short-term treatment under the Affordable Care Act, I believe the State and County need to perform due diligence to enact the appropriate definitions, guidelines, and regulations needed to govern their establishment and use.  Without such safeguards, our residential areas will be overrun and the residential nature of our neighborhoods jeopardized, as has occurred in California and Florida.

   For these reasons I request that the State of Virginia and the County of Fairfax put a hold on all licensing and determinations of corporate group homes in residential areas until the aforesaid definitions, guidelines and regulations are put into place.  I support the appropriate treatment of vulnerable populations and want to ensure that the true intent of the regulations that the corporations are using to profit from these crises are met as originally intended.





$60,000 a month. That's what it costs for your teenager to stay in a Newport Academy treatment center. 

The company is said to have plans to buy up to six homes in McLean.


Residents call it a "corporate takeover" of their neighborhood. They say they're not "group homes" but high-end treatment centers taking advantage of the opioid epidemic and lax zoning laws.



Tom Shen 99% of Newport Academy's revenue comes from insurance due to Affordable Care Act which is funded or subsidized by the tax money. In another word, our tax dollar is being exploited by these rehab businesses. The operation of NA is more close to that of a medical treatment facility, than to that of a regular "group home" which operates by charging members rent (no insurance is involved, is this right?).



5/31/2019

McLean residents fight single-home drug rehab centers

Newport has backed off plans for three-house facility, and looks to open as many as six single 'group homes' in McLean.

Author: Peggy Fox

MCLEAN, Va. — A youth drug rehab company is backing off setting up a three-house facility in McLean. But Newport Academy is moving forward with plans to open as many as six single "group homes" in the McLean area.

The backlash from the McLean community, and community feedback, persuaded Newport Academy to "modify it's expansion plans by ceasing planned openings on Davidson Road," according to a statement sent by Marc Lampkin, a resident who helped negotiate a solution to the Davidson Road situation. 

Newport purchased three homes on Davidson Road near McLean high school. Recently, the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator determined they weren't federally-protected group homes, which need no zoning changes, but congregate living facilities that do require county approval.

RELATED: Residents surprised, upset after teen drug rehab center buys three McLean homes



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The company is continuing with it's plans to open other single-home facilities, including one on Kurtz Road right behind Franklin Sherman Elementary School.

 A group home in Virginia can hold up to eight residents. There are signs along Kurtz Road opposing it.




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"We understand the need to group homes," Sarah Nearing, a nearby resident said. "These are not group homes. They're congregate living facilities. Where there are going to be many, many teenagers circling in and out over several-week periods. So they're only going to be there for several weeks, and that is not a group home ... It's no longer a single-family home. It's a facility serving patients who are cycling in and out." 

"I view it as a treatment facility," Stephanie Hein, who lives next door to the Kurtz home, said. "Which is not a bad thing, that's fine, that's what it is."

Along with the eight residents, according to Jamison Monroe, Newport's CEO, at least nine staff members will be coming and going on the already busy street.

Hein said the facility needs to be regulated.

"We're not asking the county to do anything but label this as a congregate living facility as opposed to a group home because of the transient level of it and because of the level of the scale of operations that's happening," Hein said. Because up to 70 kids can come through one single home in a year."



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RELATED: Anger erupts in McLean over youth treatment center

Hein said traffic, staffing, and any potential problems could be addressed and controlled with county regulation. 

"If they call it a group home, they have by right ability to pop up anywhere and as many as they want to," Hein said.

WUSA9 asked Newport Academy how much it cost to stay in its facilities. 

The Newport employee said, "Your insurance company will cover it."  

The employee said the cost is $2000 per day. That's $60,000 per month for one person. Eight residents would add up to $480,000 per month at one home.



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"This is a for-profit drug rehab industry that has exploded, particularly since the ACA, exploiting the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and taking advantage of vulnerable populations and the opioid epidemic," Nearing said.

County leaders and neighbors have been in communication with members of the Carlyle Group investment firm who are on the board of Newport. 

Here's a statement Marc Lampkin attributed to Newport: 



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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.


RELATED: McLean residents opposed to youth rehab center win first step to stop it






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5/31/2019

Youth drug and psychiatric company receives backlash


ALL: Peggy Fox interviewed Stephanie and Sarah this afternoon in the Kurtz neighborhood (thanks for being available and willing to get on camera!) They were both awesome and said exactly what needed saying - that even one Newport is too big to be operating in a neighborhood without proper oversight (or perhaps at all) and that what’s happening on Kurtz is a symptom of a larger problem. Keep you eyes out for a story tonight (hopefully) on WUSA9.

Peggy really seems to “get” it and it feels like she’ll report this fairly. She saw us all at the debate last night and I’m sure that also helped her to come around - so thank you to the many of you who were able to come out last night (we were again almost a quarter of the audience)!!!



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Statement from 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."








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