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BZA Approves New Church

Washington Eden Korean Presbyterian Church has found a home. The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on Tuesday unanimously approved its plans for construction of a place of worship with a nursery school and child care on 11.3 acres in Centreville.

The site is just east of the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Route 29, and the church needed the county's blessing — in the form of a special permit — to build there.

The project will be done in two phases. First will come a 450-seat sanctuary with 130 parking spaces and a nursery school for 60 children. The second phase will increase the church seating to 700 total and the parking to about 250 spaces.

The sanctuary will be built at the front of the site, near Cedar Spring Road, and the church will provide a turn lane at the existing median crossover at Cedar Spring. Also planned are right turns in and out of the site's easternmost entrance.

Designed by Robson Group Architects, the church will have a residential look, with brick and a shingled roof. And for better aesthetics, no service drive is planned in front of the church. However, this idea might run into a slight hitch.

Although county staff agrees with the church that a service drive along Route 29 is not needed, the final decision on this matter is up to the county's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services when it comes time for the church's site plan to be approved.

On Tuesday, the BZA developed a contingency plan in case Public Works does require the service drive to be constructed. In that event, the church will have to plant a 25-foot strip of trees along the service drive to provide landscaping.

A Cedar Spring resident, Susan Needham, expressed concerns at the BZA meeting that the church traffic would conflict with the existing neighborhood. But, explained BZA member Jim Hart, the only church traffic on Cedar Spring won't go by any houses.

Furthermore, he said, "This application will bring with it a left-turn lane at the median break going from Lee Highway westbound onto Cedar Spring Road. And there's also a deceleration lane to be constructed on Lee Highway eastbound, for the entrance to the site."

So the result, said Hart, is that these transportation improvements to be made by the church will actually make the intersection of Cedar Spring and Route 29 (Lee Highway) safer. Besides, he added, "A church is compatible with a residential area. Centreville Baptist is across the street, and Centreville Presbyterian will be built down the street."