Please join me on April 24 at 10 a.m. or April 26 at 7 p.m. for virtual community meetings on the Penn Daw Fire Station, Emergency and Supportive Housing project. County staff has proposed building new public safety and housing facilities at the former Hybla Valley Nursery site at 2801 Beacon Hill Road. At the meeting, staff will present information about the project and we all will be answering questions.
As you know, our Fairfax community is varied and diverse, from ethnicity to income levels, we have it all. Our County is focused on ensuring that the housing options in the County are just as varied and diverse as our residents. That means single family homes, townhomes or high rises for those who want them, affordable homes for those who need them and emergency homes for those who need an extra hand up. Importantly, our One Fairfax County policy means these options must be available throughout the County, not just in one area.
In support of this concept, residents overwhelmingly approved funding to renovate or replace four emergency housing facilities or shelters through a 2016 Human Services and Community Development Bond Referendum. One facility has been completed and the remaining three are in various stages of development, including our area’s facility.
Bond funding was also approved to replace the Penn Daw Fire Station which was built in 1967 as a volunteer station and is one of the oldest and busiest in the county.
While planning for the replacement of the Penn Daw Fire Station, and after years of searching for a new location, the former Hybla Valley Nursery site became available and was found to be an advantageous location for a new state-of-the-art fire station. The location on Beacon Hill Road allows first responders direct access to emergencies in the community and eliminates the need and million-dollar cost for construction of a temporary fire station. Due to the larger than needed size of the property and ideal location near Richmond Highway, it also provided the opportunity for co-location of additional facilities, which saves the County money and resources, while providing better services. Since 2016, County staff has spent significant time reviewing and considering twelve potential sites for this relocation and this is the only viable site that has been identified in the area.
With this in mind, County staff began looking at a continuum of housing that could be co-located with the fire station and the need to replace the existing Eleanor Kennedy Shelter, located in a 100-year-old worn-out converted pump house on Fort Belvoir land with no options for additional supportive housing. In addition, renovating this dilapidated shelter is not practical due to its age and poor design. Best practice calls for having emergency housing be a part of a crisis response system that provides safety, service connections, and individual and family connections to permanent housing.
To consider what might be co-located on this site, I convened the Penn Daw Fire Station and Supportive Housing Committee. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/sites/publicworks/files/assets/documents/projects/penn-daw-fire-station-and-supportive-housing-committee-member-list.pdf
The advisory committee, comprised of members from nearby communities, public safety representatives, faith community and affordable/emergency housing providers, the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Association, the Mount Vernon Lee Chamber of Commerce, Fort Belvoir and County staff serve as liaisons between you, the community, this project and my office.
As a next step in the consideration process, information is being shared with you through two community meetings planned for April 24 and 26. At these meetings, County staff will provide an overview of the project under consideration, including the fire station, emergency and supportive housing and ample time for you to ask questions of them and me. In the meantime, you can learn more about the plans for the fire station and the current conditions and renovation challenges at the Kennedy Shelter on the project website: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/capital-projects/penn-daw-fire-station-and-supportive-housing. The virtual community meeting information will also be posted at this link soon. As this planning process continues, there will be additional community meetings and public hearings. Please join me on April 24 at 10 a.m. or April 26 at 7 p.m. for virtual community meetings on the Penn Daw Fire Station, Emergency and Supportive Housing project.