The Leesburg Town Council last week approved a special exception application for a 37-unit assisted living facility on Dry Mill Road near Lafayette Place.

The 5 to 2 vote for Meadow Glen came Tuesday night, after a favorable recommendation in April from the council's Planning and Zoning Committee. Council members Mervin Jackson and Kristen C. Umstattd voted against the project, citing concerns about noise, traffic and safety in the area.

Several neighbors of the project site told the Town Council last month that although they had reservations about the facility at first, they now welcomed it after informal talks with the developer. They said that any other project on the 3.5-acre property, which is zoned to allow as many as 10 houses, could be noisier and generate more traffic than the assisted living facility.

The project's developer, Richard E. McClellan, must meet more than two dozen conditions, including designing outside lights that will not create glare on surrounding property and putting up buffer landscaping. Also, residents of the facility will be prohibited from having overnight guests, only visitors will be able to park in front of the building, and trash pickup will be restricted to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

McClellan said he hopes to start construction in the fall and plans to open Meadow Glen in spring 2000.

In other business, the council unanimously passed a measure to protect whistle-blowers. The measure came in the wake of a criminal investigation -- based on information provided to the commonwealth's attorney by then-Police Chief Keith A. Stiles -- into possible misuse of the town's American Express card by two town officials.

The policy would protect employees who report alleged criminal activity to authorities from firing or other retribution.