Fairfax County BOS signs off on changes to two Richmond Highway area buildings


The One Beltway Center building at 5904 Richmond Highway is owned by Ethos Veterinary Health.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved zoning-related applications for two buildings along Richmond Highway following public hearings on Sept. 13.

New veterinary hospital at One Beltway Center

The board approved the rezoning of 5904 Richmond Highway, known as One Beltway Center, to permit 7,000 square feet of additions to the existing office structure. Ethos Veterinary Health purchased the building from Rock Creek Property Group in December 2020 and has plans to open a veterinary hospital in the building.  The hospital will provide 24/7 advanced medical care for pets, including oncology services. 

The proposed additions to the ground floor will house specialized medical equipment — specifically radiation treatment equipment — that is too heavy for other parts of the building. New construction will also include a separate lobby entrance for the hospital with a minimum 1,300-square-foot green roof. Ethos plans to build a 500-square-foot, fully enclosed dog relief area under the existing building, which will continue to house office tenants on the upper floors.

Conceptual rendering of the main access to the addition (Credit: Fairfax County)

Better landscaping and pedestrian connections around the building are in the works as well. Specifically, Ethos plans to restore the resource protection area in the northeast corner of the site, removing invasive species and ensuring replanting and reforesting. They also intend to provide a pedestrian connection to nearby Cameron Run Terrace and Riverside Apartments, as well as to extend the future Cameron Run Greenway Trail and furnish the area with benches. 

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck initiated the board motion to approve Ethos' rezoning application, describing the project as “a significant improvement of an underutilized building.” 

Original Mount Vernon High School renovations

The BOS went on to approve a special exception amendment to permit the alternative use of a historic building and associated site modifications at the Original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS) located at 8333 Richmond Highway. To accommodate all the planned uses for the future human development center, county officials are planning to demolish a few non-historically significant sections of the facility and replace them with two new additions at the rear of the building, resulting in a net increase of about 4,500 square feet. 

Credit: Fairfax County

The county also is planning a recreational facility for early childhood education, landscaping improvements, and the construction of sidewalks and additional off-street parking. New parking options will include an uncovered lot to be built on existing green space behind the building with access from both Mohawk Lane and Reddick Avenue, and an auxiliary lot off Maury Place. Wayfinding signage will be added along Richmond Highway to help visitors arriving by public transit, bike or foot. The county has agreed to underground utilities along Richmond Highway.

Project manager Ipek Aktuglu, an engineer with Fairfax County, said operating hours at the facility will vary, with childcare facilities open from 6:30 a.m. to around 6:30 or 7 p.m., and other parts of the facility open as late as 11 p.m. The kitchen incubator will have 24/7 access, she said. 

Concerns about security and the impact of the new parking lot, loading dock and long facility hours on homes along Reddick Avenue were expressed by a couple of community residents attending the public meeting. In response, county staff said they plan to replace an existing fence that's currently in a state of disrepair, enclose the dumpster within a brick wall, and provide landscaping between them. Aktuglu added that transitional screening will be used to protect neighboring homes from parking lot noise and light.

Storck made a motion to approve the special exception amendment for OMVHS, as well as a 53% reduction in planned parking spaces for the facility. Both motions were unanimously approved.

The full Board of Supervisors meeting from Sept. 13 can be viewed on the Fairfax County website.

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