In 2006, I was invited to babysit for a family of two small girls in our community in McLean. Soon, I was invited as a family guest to birthday parties, lazy summer afternoons and popsicles by the pool. My input was requested as they made plans to build their family’s new house by McLean High School.
In 2008, the family moved into their beautiful new home. I admired how generous they continued to be to everyone in their tribe: family, friends and new neighbors alike. They hosted dinners, pool parties, and doggie playdates. Later that year my boyfriend was offered a teaching position abroad. The family lovingly supported our long-distance relationship. Upon his return, the family suggested, helped plan, and baked dozens of cupcakes for a ‘welcome home’ party at a restaurant in Alexandria. Not long after, that boyfriend and I were engaged to be married. The family readily offered to host a reception so all of our friends and loved ones could attend. This time, they hosted at their home in McLean. It was a beautiful event, a true celebration of love.
In 2011, we were given an opportunity to purchase our first home. A home came on the market that was in a wonderful neighborhood, excellent school district, and close to work. To our elation, it shared a property line with this family!
It was a warm afternoon by their pool when my husband and I shared that we were expecting our first baby. Again, at their home, the family hosted the most elaborate baby shower any woman could ask for. I felt like a queen.
Little feet turned into beautiful young women walking across graduation stages. The home was feeling more like an empty nest, and the family put up a perfect presentation for sale; inviting the next family to write their story. I spent the last decade of my life in 1624 Davidson Rd. Now I may have to spend the next decade of my life telling my children to stay away from there.
Newport Academy, led by Jamison Monroe, a company that offers teen rehab and mental health treatment facilities, is now taking steps to open their latest franchise in three contiguous Davidson Road homes plus one a mile away. They are using every perversion of the law to label this commercial campus separate group residences, the same designation Fairfax gives to any home in the county.
In a recent community meeting, Monroe outlined in power point presentations how they have turned these homes into dormitories with locks and alarms on every door and window. Monroe, who will move minors in-and-out of these homes by the hundreds each year, has offered to hire a 24-hour security guard to protect this community from their patients should they escape the locks and alarms. It is my resolve to utilize the laws in place that protect us from that threat ever existing.
This injustice cannot be tolerated. We must stand together in our demand to our elected officials, county and state’s attorneys and the licensing authorities to enforce the spirit of laws written to protect us. I urge you to take action immediately. Preserve the character of our neighborhood. Protect the Fair Housing Act and insist that Newport Academy follow the law.
Josephine P Vera