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November 6, 2018

Addiction recovery center proposed near Warrenton

If it wins board of supervisors’ approval, the Herren Wellness Retreat would operate at Twin Oaks, a 50-acre property north of Warrenton that Angela and Mark Smith bought from Airlie for $1.1 million last year. The PATH Foundation would own the property.
Contributed Photo
PATH brought Chris Herren, a former pro basketball player and recovering addict, to Fauquier, Culpeper and Rappahannock last year for presentations to middle and high school students.
In concept, it sounds like something that should have some fairly universal support.
— Center District Supervisor Chris Granger
Herren Wellness Retreat at Twin Oaks
• What: Special exception permit application to establish a 24-bed drug and alcohol addiction recovery center just north of Warrenton.

• Where: 2-1/2-story, 11,700-square-foot stucco home on 50 acres at 6791 James Madison Highway (Route 17).

• Zoning: Rural

• Applicant: Warrenton-based Fauquier Health Foundation, doing business as PATH Foundation.

• Property owners: Mark S. and Angela S. Smith.

• Details: The PATH Foundation and Massachusetts-based Herren Wellness Group want to establish a residential “spiritual wellness” center on the property to treat up to 24 recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. The “private-pay” retreat model uses meditation, yoga, mindfulness, reiki, exercise and group and individual coaching to provide residents with skills “necessary to return to a drug- and alcohol-free full and productive life.” It would employ 12 full- and eight part-time and contract workers.

• Next: County community development staff will prepare an analysis of the special exception application. The review review process involves work sessions and public hearings before the county planning commission and board of supervisors, which has final authority. 
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The Warrenton-based PATH Foundation wants to establish a 24-bed residential addiction recovery center just north of town.

The proposed “private-pay” Herren Wellness Retreat at Twin Oaks for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics would require special exception permit approval from Fauquier’s board of supervisors.

The property includes a 2-1/2-story, 11,700-square-foot stucco home; a two-story, 760-square-foot stucco single-family home; an in-ground pool, a barn, and various outbuildings on 50 acres along James Madison Highway (Route 17).

PATH has a contract to buy the property from Mark S. and Angela S. Smith, who live there and rent eight of Twin Oaks Historic Manor House’s bedrooms on Airbnb.

For tax purposes, Fauquier County values the property at $1.9 million. The Smiths bought it in May 2017 from Airlie Foundation for $1.1 million.

Ms. Smith couldn’t be reached for comment.

Established in 2013, PATH has funded a range of efforts to address addiction issues.

The nonprofit “recognizes that adding a spiritual wellness retreat to the list of available treatment options is one of many paths to recovery, for which there is no single solution,” President Christine M. Connolly wrote in a statement included in the organization’s special exception permit application.

PATH’s partnership with the Herren Wellness Group represents a “response to the need for residential support for people in recovery,” Ms. Connolly added.

Focusing on drug and alcohol abusers, Herren uses meditation, yoga, mindfulness, reiki, exercise and group and individual coaching to help residents build skills “necessary to return to” a drug- and alcohol-free “full and productive life,” according to the permit application filed last week with Fauquier County.

The Seekonk, Mass.-based Herren Wellness Group would operate the proposed retreat.

PATH representatives in the summer began discussions with Herren about establishing a Fauquier recovery center, foundation Communications Director Amy Petty wrote in an email.

PATH last fall brought wellness group founder Chris Herren, a former NBA guard, to Fauquier, Culpeper and Rappahannock to speak to students about his drug addiction and recovery.

> Video at bottom of story

“We’ve gotten to see first-hand the impact Chris had with middle school and high school students in the area,” Ms. Petty said. “He opened his first wellness retreat in early spring (in Massachusetts), and hearing about that and knowing the need here, we decided to learn more over the summer.”

Mr. Herren couldn’t be reached for comment.

Because “we’re in the exploratory phase of this project,” Ms. Petty said the foundation couldn’t provide information about whether:

• The proposed center would offer treatment services other than those for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.

• PATH would help fund or have a role in the operation of the proposed Fauquier center.

• PATH would retain ownership of the 50-acre property or perhaps at some point transfer it to another entity.

Ms. Petty also couldn’t say what PATH would pay for the property north of Warrenton or how much recovering addicts would pay to stay at the proposed center.

Insurance doesn’t cover services provided by Herren Wellness.

Residents of its Massachusetts center stay at least four weeks and may remain there as long as six months, according to the nonprofit’s website. A four-week stay costs $12,500 to $15,000.

“In general, I support it,” Supervisor Chris Granger (Center District) said of the proposal. “I know there’s details being worked out, but the location they’re looking at is secluded — the kind of retreat setting that they’re looking for.”

The Twin Oaks proposal appears to provide another choice to help address a complex problem that doesn’t lend itself to a single solution, said Mr. Granger, whose district includes the property at 6791 James Madison Highway.

“I do know you need multiple treatment options,” the supervisor said. “So, if somebody’s looking to do this, it’s filling a segment.

“In concept, it sounds like something that should have some fairly universal support.”

As proposed, the Herren center would seem to complement rather than compete with the plan — involving PATH, the county and the Town of Warrenton — to establish a treatment facility that would serve people who lack the means to pay for those services, County Administrator Paul McCulla said.

“The county’s partnership with PATH and the Town of Warrenton to establish a residential facility in Warrenton envisions being able to accept people” who lack insurance and the ability to pay out of pocket, Mr. McCulla said. “Therefore, we don’t see a conflict with” the retreat proposal. “If fact, there’s a synergy between them.”

The Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services Board provides outpatient treatment for recovering addicts at its Warrenton office on Hospital Hill.

Williamsburg-based SpiritWorks Foundation offers onsite peer counseling services for recovering addicts through the nonprofit’s Warrenton office at 30 John Marshall St.

In July, Warrenton’s town council unanimously approved plans to allow a residential addiction recovery center in the county-owned building at 340 Hospital Hill. That building houses CSB’s health services.

The county board of supervisors, PATH and the CSB last month agreed to pay $1.14 million for a 7,736-square-foot office building at 12 North Hill Drive in Warrenton.

The community services board will move its mental health services to the two-story brick building.

With renovations and installation of an elevator, the total cost of the structure will be $2.475 million. The PATH Foundation will contribute just more than $1 million and the county and the community services board each $708,000.

After the community services board moves, the plan calls for reuse of the Hospital Drive building to house a residential addiction treatment center as described by Mr. McCulla.

The schedule remains undetermined for consideration of the Herren proposal.

The special exception review process involves work sessions and public hearings before the county planning commission and board of supervisors, which has final authority on the application. 

Contact Don Del Rosso at or 540-270-0300. 

PATH SOJ on Herren Twin Oaks by on Scribd


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Melrose Carter · November 7, 2018 at 7:12 am
It's good for American University and Airlie to be moving further away from the memory of Dr. Head, who owned Airlie at one time. His bizarre practice of conducting meetings in the nude and criminal activities per court papers and time in prison is not something a business would want on it's prospectus.
Melrose Carter · November 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm
Was Twin Oaks be used as an Airbnb without a county permit? Hmm.....
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