Donate to the legal fund alongside your neighbors and help stop private equity from jeopardizing A Farm Less Ordinary and setting a precedent for misuse across Loudoun.
Newport Institute purchased a family subdivision plus 10 acres in a Leesburg neighborhood to use as a psychiatric in-patient facility campus for adults. Loudoun residents are objecting to residential zoning misuse by Newport, owned by $40B private equity firm ONEX, after trying the same thing in McLean in 2019 and not being permitted. Allowing this misuse would be precedent setting across Loudoun residential zones.
Most importantly, a commercial treatment campus would jeopardize A Farm Less Ordinary (AFLO), a successful non-profit offering community and employment to the intellectually and developmentally disabled located directly next to Newport's 25-acre assemblage.
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In December 2021, a handful of Gleedsville Road residents found out that ONEX/Monroe Real Estate LLC/Newport Healthcare/Newport Academy/Newport Institute (Newport), a private equity owned, rehab treatment company, was planning to buy every home in a family subdivision, as well as a separate 10 acre lot, to operate a commercial in-patient treatment facility campus.
Objecting to corporate misuse of neighborhood homes is not objecting to mental health. Everyone supports mental and behavioral health care, Loudoun residents are objecting to private equity AGAIN attempting to misuse residential neighborhoods in Northern Virginia for congregate facilities. Several of those who object to the inappropriate location have worked extensively in the mental healthcare field, others continue to work and volunteer with local organizations dedicated to providing care and support for mental health and developmental needs.
Not Permitted in Fairfax
In 2019, Newport purchased a row of three McLean neighborhood homes on Davidson Road. After Fairfax County Zoning was made aware, they determined the three home operation was not State and Federally protected "Group Homes", free to operate "by-right", but a "Congregate Living Facility" with shared resources. That McLean residential zone required a special permit for congregate facilities while Loudoun County Zoning fully prohibits congregate facilities in AR-1 residential zones, the uses are incompatible and no special permit exists.
The three homes on Gleedsville Road in Loudoun make up a gated subdivision. The homes share one single-lane driveway, along with multiple communal features and amenities. Residents argue that this location, even more so than the row of McLean homes, defines congregate living and should not be misused by private equity as a sprawling "sub-acute in-patient psychiatric treatment" campus (aerial photo of the subdivision displayed above).
Not Permitted in Loudoun
In November 2021, Loudoun Zoning issued a Zoning Determination to Newport that their intended use for the three homes was "congregate" and NOT permissible. However, Deputy Zoning Administrator Michele Lohr went on to confirm Newport's inquiry on whether it was possible to operate each home in the subdivision as a separate group home. A decision she made without performing a site visit to see that the homes are within an enclosed subdivision. In a hand-delivered letter to select neighbors, Newport cited Deputy Zoning Administrator Michele Lohr's words as their reason for purchasing the homes and an adjacent 10 acre lot. That "mailbox letter", and other zoning documents, are posted further below.
Protect Loudoun supporters view this second attempt to operate a commercial treatment facility out of multiple adjacent homes in a residential neighborhood as an intentional strategy. If Newport is permitted by Loudoun County to supersede zoning laws, it will establish a precedent for all Loudoun neighborhoods which will benefit Newport’s wealthy stakeholders and Canadian private equity investors – not those who seek their care, not neighborhoods, and not the Loudoun community. AR-1 is not safe or suitable for congregate facilities, hence the strict laws prohibiting that use.
In May 2019, Fairfax County Zoning determined that Newport operating out of three adjacent homes constituted a Congregate Housing Facility, a use not permitted by their residential zoning ordinances. Loudoun has the same rule against congregate facilities in residential zones.
Please see the separate navigation tab "Court and Zoning Documents" at the top of this page to access the full repository. All documents are public record and posted here for full transparency. *Please note: Newport listed adolescents aged 12-17 on their 2021 zoning inquiry, but soon updated the use for the Gleedsville/Leesburg campus to be for adult men and women 18-32.
Other states, like California, have laws in place to prevent facilities from saturating and altering neighborhoods. Virginia has no such laws after state delegates rejected a Bill proposed in 2021 to require a minimum distance between facilities in residential areas. But even California's laws requiring distances of 500 feet haven't prevented Newport from overwhelming a small community.
Newport initially purchased two homes in a Orange Park Acres, California and now operates out of over a dozen homes in one neighborhood, despite pleas and objections from the community and the mayor (see the PDF article below for full details). As mentioned in the article, deep pockets of a private equity allows them to easily outbid families looking to purchase a home, even amidst a housing shortage in a competitive market.
Loudoun residents fighting this private equity campus do not want to see this county meet the same fate as Orange Park Acres and likewise, residents in Orange Park are passionate about helping Virginians ensure that our zoning laws prohibiting congregate facilities are enforced.
Rural neighborhoods are not equipped with the infrastructure or resources to properly serve a commercial treatment campus for dozens of adults seeking psychiatric in-patient care. The clients paying Newport over $2k/day deserve to be treated in a safe and adequate location.
Donate to the legal fund alongside your neighbors and help stop this precedent from being set across Loudoun.
This is not an isolated incident. The articles below highlight what McLean residents dealt with in 2019.
"Newport Academy does not act like a good neighbor" Published May 17, 2019 by Fairfax County Times
"Rehab Company Faces Widespread Community Backlash Over Planned McLean Facility" Published April 25, 2019 by the Tysons Reporter
Protect Loudoun views Newport's for-profit, private equity driven intention to again acquire and misuse multiple residential homes in Northern Virginia as being harmful and intentional.
Newport/ONEX has the means to operate a commercial treatment facility from a commercial zone - they have chosen not to, with CEO Joe Procopio stating at the BZA hearing on April 28, 2022 that the serene neighborhood setting residents have created will make a great location for their business, even mentioning that they enjoyed hearing the wind chimes from a neighboring yard. Ignoring warnings from neighbors about the many pitfalls of the location, from being located in an area known for hunting and connected to a high powered gun range by a walking bridge, to being 20 minutes away from first responders, located on the blind curve of a two-lane 45mph road where traffic regularly exceeds 70mph, all elements that do not make for an ideal psychiatric rehabilitation campus.
Loudoun residents are uniting, adding more neighbors each day as awareness spreads. Please sign the petition linked below, donate, make your neighbors aware, join us at an event, and help keep private equity from buying up residential homes and operating commercial facilities in Loudoun neighborhoods.
A small town with a Newport facility had 110 911 calls in 2021 due to a Newport campus. Residents brought media awareness to the public disturbances they live with, all of which highlight why A Farm Less Ordinary is in jeopardy if the three-home Leesburg campus is permitted.
If you join us in objecting to this misuse of residences in Loudoun County, PLEASE sign and share this petition. This is a way for residents to state their opposition to private equity operating commercial treatment facilities out of residential neighborhoods.
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors can be emailed as a whole at email@example.com
Delegate Wendy Gooditis
Loudoun County Board of Zoning and Planning, firstname.lastname@example.org
Individual emails for Board Members and their Staff Aides, as well as for Zoning Board Members, can be found at Loudoun.gov
Residents are pursuing State Appellate Court and still hoping for a thorough review of the merits of the case.
Checks can be sent to:
P.O. Box 1835
Leesburg, VA 20177
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