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Resident asks for more 'Loving Arms'

By Linwood Outlaw III -- loutlaw@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- A longtime Warren County resident is asking local officials for permission to expand her rest home facility and provide more adult care units in the community.

The Warren County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 at the government center on North Commerce Avenue on a conditional-use permit being requested by Shelly L. Cook-Knighting to build a rest home for clients ages 55 and older on 14.27 acres of undeveloped agricultural property in the Fork Magisterial District.

Cook-Knighting, 43, owns and operates the Loving Arms Rest Home across from the site on Lee Burke Road and is proposing an expansion of the facility. She wants to consolidate the five lots and "vacate the platted right-of-way through the property so the property can be developed as a cohesive entity over time," Planning Director Taryn G. Logan explained in a summary of the proposal.

Cook-Knighting said the project will involve adding five 21,500- to 30,700-square-foot buildings that will each contain 12 adult care residences. One of the buildings, she said, will have a 12,000-square-foot community center with an indoor pool. Loving Arms, which was built in 1997, offers all levels of care. Cook-Knighting said she wants to expand the facility "to offer not only suites, but also apartment style living."

"In light of the emerging aging crisis, it is imperative that the community have the housing available to meet these needs," Cook-Knighting told the Board of Supervisors in a letter. "Not only will the new facility provide a needed service to the community, it will [also] create new jobs for the community. ... The offerings of these types of living facilities will allow county seniors, county tax dollars and the associated jobs to stay in Warren County, rather than being forced to go to the counties that have allowed for this type of facility and growth."

About 40 full-time and five part-time positions, including nurse assistants and concierge services, are also being proposed as part of the expansion, which will be privately funded.

In a recent phone interview, Cook-Knighting said the project is "hospitality driven, but it allows for the actual added security of nursing care."

The facility will also include a walking trail system. "Out here, in the country, there's not a lot of places for [residents in] our community to walk," Cook-Knighting said.

Construction of the expansion, which is part of an overall plan to convert Loving Arms Rest Home into a complete campus, is not expected to exceed 24 months.

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