Nonprofit submits plan for program to support adults with disabilities at Ellmore Farmhouse

Ellmore Farmhouse (via Fairfax County Government)

A nonprofit dedicated to helping people with disabilities has formally submitted plans to Fairfax County for a new program that will operate out of the Ellmore Farmhouse in Herndon’s Frying Pan Farm Park.

ServiceSource signed a 29-year lease for the property at 2739 West Ox Road on May 24 after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the nonprofit as the newest addition to the park authority’s Resident Curator Program earlier that month.

Now, county planners are reviewing a special exception application to permit an adult day support center at the farmhouse, so ServiceSource can establish a Long-Term Community Integration Services program with classes, training, and other services for adults with developmental disabilities.

“This application presents a unique opportunity to collocate a meaningful community service on County parkland and appropriately renovate a historic structure,” Scott Adams, an attorney representing ServiceSource, said in a statement of justification. “The synergy of collocating the proposed facility within Frying Pan Farm Park will serve as a peaceful setting with natural and recreational amenities for the program’s participants while also serving to further activate and support the park.”

Filed on Aug. 16, the application proposes allowing about 15 clients and six staff members at the Ellmore Farmhouse from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

Intended to help integrate participants into the general community, the program will offer a variety of activities depending on the day, including:

  • Community engagement activities, which could include volunteering in Frying Pan Farm Park’s visitor center and at Kidwell Farm
  • Skill building and training opportunities
  • Music, dance, and art classes
  • Visits to local sites and small businesses
  • Classes on computers, nutrition, and other life skills
  • Reading groups
  • Planning meetings with family members, ServiceSource employees, and Fairfax County-Falls Church Community Services Board staff

ServiceSource plans to collaborate with the Fairfax County Park Authority on additional amenities for Frying Pan Farm Park visitors, such as a “grab-and-go” cafe with snacks and drinks that would employ adults with disabilities.

The nonprofit also proposes selling candles, soap, tote bags, and other items handcrafted by people with disabilities through its self-employment program. All proceeds would go to the individuals who made the products.

As a resident curator, ServiceSource has committed to rehabilitating the two-story, 3,300 square-foot farmhouse by improving its accessibility and incorporating green building designs, while also preserving its historic character.

It is obligated to provide public access to the property, including at least one annual open house, and to deliver annual reports to the park authority, which owns the site, according to the lease, which won’t take effect until the special exception request and any other necessary permits are approved.

As part of the special exception application, ServiceSource has asked the county to waive a requirement that it provide an estimate for the maximum number of trips that will be generated by the facility, citing the limited number of participants in the proposed program.

It is also seeking waivers of any requirements to dedicate, construct, or widen existing roads and to provide a minor paved trail on the site that’s included in the county’s Comprehensive Trails Plan Map.

“The limited scope of the application does not warrant the construction of a new trail and users of the Adult Day Support Center will [be] dropped off and picked up by vehicle,” the statement of justification says. “There is an existing sidewalk that connects the Ellmore Farmhouse to the pedestrian crosswalk at West Ox Road and an existing trail along the southern portion of West Ox Road.”

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