Since 1967, Capitol Worship Center has been in Arlington, but it recently sold its building there. A branch of the same church currently meets at Centre Ridge Elementary, but now church members want a place of their own.
Toward that end, they're seeking Fairfax County's permission to build a sanctuary and preschool on nearly 10 acres at Ordway and Compton roads and Route 28 in Centreville. Said the Rev. James Kelley: "A large portion of the congregation has moved to the Centreville and Manassas area."
Attorney Steve Fox presented details, last Tuesday, Feb. 19, to the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee. He said phase one would be a multipurpose building to last four or five years while the members raise funds for the rest.
Phase two would add a permanent sanctuary to house 1,150 congregants, and possibly a preschool for less than 100 children. Said Fox: "If its hours were 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., it would conflict with peak movement of traffic there, so we'd limit it to 9 a.m.-3 p.m."
Noting the county's 50-percent undisturbed open space requirement for residential-conservation (R-C) land, as this site is, Fox said it came down to parking spaces vs. open space vs. seats, so "we might have to ratchet back the seats to 1,000 for less parking and more open space."
The current proposal only has 37 percent open space, but it could be increased to 47 percent. Fox said the pastor personally owns a couple adjacent acres which he could add into the site. Said WFCCA member Carol Hawn: "My immediate recommendation — count on adding it."
Architect Bill Robson said several residential lots, plus UOSA (Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority) are nearby. "It's R-C zoning on a heavily traveled road, so it has a low potential of being developed as home sites, so it [would be a good place] for a church," he said. "With the consolidation of four parcels, I think it makes an attractive site."
The main entrance and exit would be via Ordway, but a spot off of Compton, at Old Centreville Road, is also proposed. Both entrances would also have deceleration lanes.
Adequately screened parking would be in front of the buildings. Robson said the church would be modern-looking and, by placing it on the higher part of the site, "it would be more visible from Route 28 and would be a nice focal point for the community."
The WFCCA's Richard Smith said that intersection is "atrocious for traffic on weekdays," and he worried what would happen if Bible study and other church groups met at 6 p.m., during rush hour. But Kelley said the church's evening meetings are usually held at 7:30 or 7:45 p.m.
WFCCA member Dick Frank encouraged the church to include a trail on the Ordway side of the property. Fox and church representatives planned to meet with county staff and return to the WFCCA in March with an update.