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Planning Trend Watch: Senior Care Facility Requires Controversial Rezoning

A controversial zoning decision paved the way for a large assisted living facility in Alexandria, Virginia. The need for such a drastic measures reflects a growing need to plan for aging populations.
February 18, 2015, 10am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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According to Susan Hale Thomas, the Alexandria Planning Commission recently approved a proposal "to rezone and grant a development special use permit for a 75,000 square foot three-story assisted living facility on the 2800 block of King Street."

"The area is zoned as single-family residential land, but developer 2811 King Street LLC requested the rezoning and permission to construct Alexandria Memory Care, a 66 unit facility for the memory impaired."

Behind the proposal, and the planning staff's recommendation to allow the rezoning, is growing pressure to house aging populations in safe communities that meet basic human rights standards. Unfortunately for Alexandria, and for many other communities, the city's current planning documents only treat the need to house seniors as a vague notion. That's despite the fact that senior populations are expected to double in the 30 years between 2000 and 2030.

So planning commission staff was on hand to describe how "the proposed development met the goals outlined in the Alexandria Housing Master Plan." According to Hale Thomas's reportage, "[an] objective of the plan specifies the need to supply 'a variety of safe, quality housing choices that are affordable and accessible to households of all ages and abilities.' After reviewing the preliminary site plan, city staff recommended the board approve rezoning the property from a residential to a townhouse zone."

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Published on Friday, February 13, 2015 in Alexandria Times
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