Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Treatment Center on Davidson Road: Letters Pro & Con

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Treatment Center on Davidson Road: Letters Pro & Con

Community Character and Well-being at Stake

There has been unrest among numerous citizens of McLean regarding Newport Academy’s (NA) quiet purchase of a cluster of three large homes on Davidson Road, near McLean High School, and one at 1318 Kurtz Road, 350 feet from Franklin Sherman Elementary School. Senior citizens and people with disabilities have long lived in group homes in McLean, as long term or permanent residents. Newport Academy (NA), in contrast, has plans to develop a large corporate business-making cluster of facilities for teenage children in need of medical help, with eight clients per home, 32 patients in total, at a daily cost of $1,000 a day per patient. These self-designated group homes, under NA’s vision, envision temporary stays of from 6-10 (42-70 days) weeks at a time. Virginia tax law defines residency as a minimum stay of 183 days. Newport Academy CEO, Jamison Monroe Jr. did not guarantee that these limited stay patients would be local members of the community or have ties to the community.

To date, Newport Academy is unwilling to apply for a county zoning permit to operate as a Congregate Living Facility (CLF), thus allowing patients treatment on a short-term basis. CLF permits include, among other accountability measures, facility set back requirements and a traffic impact study.

The Newport Academy’s four home compounds will require several dozens of staff to operate. Those numbers climb further when accounting for all the additional visitors that will come in and out of the compound on a daily basis: counselors, therapists, family, friends, delivery trucks, and crews carrying supplies and foods, overwhelming our local roads that lack curbs and sidewalks.

The wave of people, vehicles, and commercial activity in residential neighborhoods adjacent to McLean High School and Franklin Sherman Elementary School, a community swim club, and Lewinsville park, will not only disrupt the neighborhood, but also threaten our children as they walk, bike or scooter to school and the aforementioned locations. The cluster of NA treatment facilities will undoubtedly strain local emergency services as other jurisdictions have reported a significant increase in police and EMT services calls to other Newport Academy locations in the country.

We urge our local and state politicians and zoning authorities to prevent Virginia from becoming the new breeding ground for corporations that abuse the Fair Housing Act to further their own rapid growth and profit at the expense of the character and well-being of locally zoned residential communities.

Peter and Kim Tomsen