Officials with the Chesterbrook Affordable Assisted Living Facility are hoping to break ground in the Spring of 2005 on the 100-bed facility that will serve low- and moderate-income people. The project has been in the works for more than three years and faced opposition along the way.
The project will go before the Board of Supervisors on Monday, April 26 to get its approval. The task force assigned to resolve outstanding issues related to the facility has worked with county officials, neighbors and church members to ensure the project goes forward.
The Chesterbrook Affordable Living Facility recently received a unanimous vote of approval from the County Planning Commission and already has a positive staff report on the project.
According to Jane Edmondson, the coordinator for the project, all indications are that things will move forward. “Clearly the supervisors themselves all recognize the critical need for affordable senior housing,” said Edmondson. She added that they are “tinkering with some of the development conditions with [Dranesville District Supervisor] Joan DuBois.”
Rosemary Ryan, with DuBois office, said that one issue the supervisor has been very concerned over and is working with the Housing Authority on, is the number of beds dedicated to the lower income spaces. “She’s working with the Housing Authority on issues pertaining to the percentage of low income residents. The split is low, very low and market,” said Ryan. DuBois wants to see the number of beds for low-income residents increased.
THE NATIONAL CAPITOL PRESBYTERY, which owns the land on which the facility will be built, has been working with members of the Chesterbrook Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, that occupies the front parcel of land, to resolve a dispute over who owns and controls the front section of land. “The county attorney is satisfied that the presbytery owns the land. Any issue must be resolved between them, we won’t be a party to it,” said Ryan.
Edmondson said, “The presbytery is working with the members of that church. It was an unfortunate misunderstanding that they had ownership. We are now working on documents that clarify everyone’s position and are hopeful that everyone will be good neighbors.”
The facility is proposed in a densely populated residential area and there had been opposition by neighbors to the project because of its size and the potential impact to traffic. According to Edmondson the concerns of neighbors have calmed in recent months. “It’s been quiet. I take that as a good sign,” said Edmondson.
Ryan concedes that Chesterbrook Affordable Living Facility is getting some latitude regarding size from the county because of the good it will do for low income residents. “I can tell you that if this was Sunrise, they in all probability would not be getting 100 units because of the impact to the community,” said Ryan.
Although there has been opposition, Chesterbrook Living Facility has also had a good deal of support. “We’ve been gratified by the support from so many members of the community,” said Edmondson. If the Board of Supervisors agrees to move forward with the project, Chesterbrook Affordable Living Facility officials would begin working on site plan approval. “We’ve had people waiting in the wings, so we are ready to go,” said Edmondson.