Donate to the legal fund alongside your neighbors and help stop a commercial campus from jeopardizing A Farm Less Ordinary and setting a precedent for this misuse across Loudoun.
A private equity backed rehab company purchased a family subdivision plus 10 acres in a Leesburg neighborhood to use as a commercial treatment facility for adults. Loudoun residents are objecting to residential zoning misuse by a corporation who tried the same thing in McLean in 2019 and were not permitted to convert adjacent homes. Allowing this misuse would be precedent setting across Loudoun residential zones.
Most importantly, a multi-home 25 acre rehab campus would jeopardize A Farm Less Ordinary (AFLO), a non-profit for the intellectually and developmentally disabled located directly next door.
At a Circuit Court hearing on 09/26/22 a Judge found that neighbors DO have standing to object.
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In December 2021, a handful of Gleedsville Road residents found out that Newport Academy/Institute, a private equity backed, rehab treatment company, was buying a family subdivision of residential homes and a separate 10 acre plot to operate a commercial treatment facility.
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 Newport again attempting to misuse residential neighborhoods for their commercial, 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, and began operating out of, 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" that intended to share resources. That McLean residential zone requires 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 family subdivision. The homes share one single-lane driveway, along with multiple communal features and amenities. Protect Loudoun believes that this location, even more so than the row of McLean homes, defines congregate living and should not be misused by a company as a sprawling "sub-acute psychiatric treatment" campus (aerial photo of the subdivision displayed above).
Not Permitted in Loudoun
In November 2021, Loudoun Zoning informed 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 separate group homes and she confirmed without performing a site visit to see that the homes are 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. All 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 Academy/Institute are 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.
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.
Fairfax and Loudoun Zoning documents, including Newport's initial inquiry, Loudoun's Determination, Loudoun Zoning's BZA filing, and the State Supreme Court decision that Fairfax neighbors HAVE standing - all are public record and here for your reference. *Please note: Newport listed youth aged 12-17 on their inquiry, but has updated the use for the Gleedsville/Leesburg campus to adults aged 18-28. The COO made it clear that they can change use cases for any of their properties at any time.
Other states, like California, have laws in place to prevent facilities from saturating 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 haven't prevented Newport from overwhelming a community.
Newport initially purchased two homes in a Orange Park Acres, California and now operate out of over a dozen, despite pleas from the community (see the PDF article below for full details). As mentioned in the article, deep pockets of a private equity backed company allows them to easily outbid anyone 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 intention to again target three adjacent residential zoned homes fin Virginia for a commercial facility as being harmful, intentional and driven by an agenda to set the precedent to acquire residential homes vs commercial zoned facilities.
Newport/ONEX has the means to operate a commercial treatment facility from a commercial zone - but 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.
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 Loudoun 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 for-profit companies operating commercial treatment facilities out of residential neighborhoods.
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors can be emailed as a whole at firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Wendy Gooditis
Loudoun County Board of Zoning and Planning, email@example.com
Individual emails for Board Members and their Staff Aides, as well as for Zoning Board Members, can be found at Loudoun.gov
Now that the BZA hearing resulted in a dismissal, Circuit Court is the only option. We need legal funds, please donate if you can.
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