LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Controversy is brewing in Loudoun County over plans to bring group homes to a residential neighborhood along Gleedsville Road.
Newport Academy, a rehab company that provides mental health services to teens and young adults, plans to purchase three homes in the neighborhood to use as state-licensed group homes and treatment centers.
According to the zoning application, each home would have eight residents plus staff.
Neighbors tell FOX 5 it’s a zoning issue and the company shouldn’t be able to have these facilities in the neighborhood.
"I think knee-jerk first thing people say to us is, ‘Don’t you support mental health?’" Sarah Hoffman, a Gleedsville resident said. "And I think the irony there is that so many people who are part of this effort are mental health professionals. And they are some of the loudest voices saying this is a residential zone; this is wonderful, but it belongs in a commercial zone."
Hoffman said some of her neighbors only recently found out about the potential purchase and in addition to concerns over zoning, neighbors worry about safety, increased traffic, potential crime and property values going down if the facilities become operational.
"It’s difficult because you don’t want to judge the people...they’re seeking help and that’s wonderful, but again it’s just all the more reason it shouldn’t be in a residential zone. I don’t see how it benefits those seeking care nor those living around the facility." Hoffman said.
FOX 5 reached out to Newport Academy and received this statement from CEO Joe Procopio:
Newport has provided much needed, high quality teen mental health services in Virginia since March of 2020, and we are pleased to bring young adult mental health treatment to the Leesburg community soon. Our mission is to empower lives and restore families through clinical expertise and integrated care. We believe every person deserves a chance to heal in a supportive and loving environment, and we are committed to the safety of our clients and communities. We have received support from many community members and leaders across Loudoun County who understand the need for quality mental health treatment in this region, particularly in the midst of a national mental health crisis, and we are working diligently with our neighbors to proactively mitigate any of their individual concerns. We look forward to being a contributing member of this great community and are committed to raising awareness and working to eliminate the stigma of mental health issues.
An attorney representing Gleedsville neighbors did file an appeal this week.
If the county’s zoning board accepts it, there could be a hearing where residents can speak to the board.
FOX 5 did reach out to the county zoning officials but did not yet receive a response.