This will be senior housing for veterans 65 and older who are long past any trouble making days. The vast majority of them never had any trouble making days. With an all woman staff, we have served hundreds of older veterans over the last seven years and have not experienced one single incidence of harm from these aging veterans. That being said, as property managers we plan to conduct the same screening that most other rental communities do, which includes a background and sex offender registry check. We will not rent to anyone that has been convicted of a ‘barrier’ crime or is listed on the sex offender registry.
What will this do to my property values?
One main component of property appraisals are ‘comps’. The appraiser would never compare properties of different types. They will not compare your single family home to nearby senior duplexes. It is possible that updated infrastructure addressing drainage issues, walkability and a nearby, beautiful place for Grandma or Grandpa to live could actually raise your property value.
I don’t want ‘Tiny Homes’ in my neighborhood.
These are not tiny homes. Let me repeat, these are not tiny homes. This misconception lives on because in the beginning, when we were looking at land in the county and at Vint Hill, we were envisioning the tiny home village model. When we began discussions on the Church Street property we immediately abandoned that concept. We knew that model would not match the surrounding neighborhood or the town as a whole. The units within the duplexes are designed to be 576 sq ft. This is larger than tiny homes and about the same size as all the other senior apartments in our area.
Can’t these veterans just live at one of the assisted living centers or the new Puller Center?
Our area assisted living centers and the Puller Center are nursing facilities for seniors that need daily care and assistance. They range in price from $3,000 to $8,000 per month. Our veterans are independent seniors who simply need an affordable apartment.
Can’t you build it somewhere else?
We receive frequent suggestions to build in other places. I’ll address the most frequent.
- Out in the County- The Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan is clear that new development must occur within the ‘service districts’ or the towns as you and I would call them. By building in Warrenton we are following the county’s comprehensive plan. We did spend about 2 years evaluating properties in the county and other service districts, including Vint Hill. We were unsuccessful in finding a single property that was viable for this project, mainly due to the lack of water and sewer infrastructure.
- Vint Hill- We spent 10 months evaluating and trying to negotiate options at Vint Hill, including a collaboration with the Commonwealth on state owned land. In the end, they turned down our proposal, preferring to preserve the land for their own potential future expansions. We did evaluate other parcels at Vint Hill but none were viable for various reasons. There were also concerns about placing a senior community in an area with no doctors, groceries, pharmacy or doctors.
- Other random places all over- We consistently receive suggestions to build on places people have seen or heard about. Keep in mind that the site has to have basic infrastructure, reasonable zoning, reasonable price or a willing, mission-based partner. The Church St. location is the only parcel we have found that has these conditions. If another location exists, also keep in mind that there will most certainly be 10-15 new neighbors who are upset and will ask us to move the project back to Church Street.
What about the burden on EMS, healthcare and public supports?
These are seniors that already exist in our area. We are not creating new needs but bringing seniors that are straining the system into one supportive community that is 0.5 mi from the EMS/Fire station, 0.5 mi to the grocery store, 0.5 mi to the pharmacy and 0.9 mi to the hospital. Nothing has made more sense to the public service system in a very long time. Furthermore, our on-site staff and supportive services of transportation, nutrition, health checks and community health workers will greatly reduce the calls the system is currently receiving from these seniors.
What about traffic, parking and design features? No one consulted me.
The rezoning and permitting process is rigorous in our town. We look forward to working with the staff, the Planning Commission and the Town Council to ensure we are building a well designed project with as little impact on the surrounding area as possible. Although not required to discuss the project with the public at all up to this point, we have voluntarily sent two written updates and held a town hall with immediate neighbors. We did make changes to our initial design based on feedback from that town hall. It is impossible to speak personally to every interested person but we do value the public hearing process that will commence with the rezoning request.
You are asking for a rezoning and that is bad.
Very rarely do meaningful projects of any size fit neatly into all the boxes of a particular zoning. To be clear, this is a residential project for which we are requesting a rezoning from one type of residential to another. The Regional Housing Study, Community Needs Assessments, Warrenton 2040 Plan and the Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan all indicate an imminent need to address housing issues. They all direct that some zoning changes and flexibility will be required to meet these needs. Why do we spend all of this time and money on these plans and studies and then reject projects that do exactly what they call for to address dire housing issues? Item #1 on the Town Council’s Code of Ethics states they are to consider the common good over smaller private interests. This is exactly what we are asking for in this rezoning request.
You are changing our small town and/or my neighborhood.
We vehemently disagree this project will negatively change Warrenton. Quite the opposite, the Warrenton we know and love would never want elderly veterans living in unsupported squalor.
What the 15 homes on Church and Moser Street will see when they leave their homes will admittedly change. The Church has property rights and something will be built there. We ask you each to consider what may go there if this project falls apart. Do you prefer rows of townhouses with tenants with no background checks? Do you prefer McMansions that do lower your home values because they are newer and bigger than your smaller, older home? Two of the most respected charitable entities in town are trying to build something small, meaningful and safe, isn’t that your best bet?