The Arlington County Board voted Tuesday to authorize a Letter of Intent with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia—the first step to turning the historic Reevesland farmhouse into a group home for individuals with developmental disabilities. The group home will be managed by L’Arche Greater Washington.
“This is good news on so many levels,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “The farmhouse will be preserved and protected as a historic site, the parkland around the house will stay as parkland, and the County will get much needed housing for people with developmental disabilities without our taxpayers footing the bill. It’s a win-win-win.”
The County will host two meetings about the proposal, and Habitat NOVA will undergo a public process to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the County for its concept plans for exterior changes to the farmhouse and parcel. Updates on the meeting will be posted on the County’s Engage Arlington webpage.
Reevesland in Flux
Since 2010, Arlington County has been searching for appropriate uses for the historic farmhouse. In 2012, the County issued a Request for Proposals and in 2013 it issued a Request for Interest, but no viable options came forward. In 2017, the County Board authorized the County Manager to move forward with the necessary steps to prepare for the sale of the farmhouse parcel, while keeping 2.2 acres as public parkland.
In May 2017, Habitat NOVA contacted the County with an unsolicited proposal for rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the farmhouse as a group home for people with developmental disabilities.
Good Terms for All
The Habitat NOVA proposal supports the County’s goals for the private renovation and reuse of the Reeves farmhouse, while expanding housing for Arlington residents with developmental disabilities. All exterior alterations to the farmhouse, the construction of new additions and outbuildings, and certain changes to the grounds will require review and approval by the Arlington County Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board. More than two acres of public parkland will remain for public use. The site features an historic milk shed, a sledding hill, and the Reevesland Learning Center gardens.
Habitat NOVA selected L’Arche and HomeAid Northern Virginia as its partners for the project. L’Arche is a residential service provider that assists individuals with developmental disabilities with their housing, social, spiritual and recreational support needs. L’Arche owns and operates two other facilities in Arlington. HomeAid Northern Virginia builds and renovates nonprofit facilities at a cost savings with the help of its building partners. It is the official nonprofit of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association and a chapter of HomeAid America.