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Church Gets Rezoning Approval

Ox Hill Baptist Church to expand, build new sanctuary.

It's full steam ahead for Ox Hill Baptist Church. It plans to eventually expand its facilities and build a new sanctuary. And last Monday, Oct. 18, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the land rezoning enabling it to do so.

"We were very pleased that the community supports what we're doing and that the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors were willing to bless it," said the church pastor, the Rev. Dean Majette.

The 5.7 acres are on the east side of Elmwood Street, near Route 50, across from the Sully Plaza Shopping Center in Chantilly. They may now be rezoned from their current one home per acre to a more-intense zoning district that still permits churches as by-right uses.

OX HILL'S four-phase project spans 15-20 years. Phase one will add more parking, install curb-and-gutter work and deal with stormwater management. Phase two entails construction of a multi-use facility (fellowship hall), plus a kitchen and educational space.

Phase three will add a third wing with space for administrative offices, and the fourth and final phase is a new, 950-seat sanctuary. Said Majette: "We're doing all the site work first to support the whole, multi-phase project."

Majette said the church hopes to begin work by June, but first it has to have engineering drawings done and then it will put the job out for bid to contractors. "I think our building committee did a really good job," he said.

The existing church building faces Elmwood Street. In phase one, the parking lot will be moved toward Route 50; in phase two, the new construction will form an H onto one side of the current L-shaped building.

"THE SMALL wing built in phase three will close the back and create a courtyard," said Majette. "And the sanctuary in phase four will take up some of the existing parking and will add more spaces."

Ox Hill also obtained a special exception from the county for the three activities that will be there — a church, nursery school/child care facility, and health and human services uses. The church currently runs a 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Mothers Day Out program with 60 children and 10 teachers. It's classified as a child-care center, and a future expansion of this program is planned.

In addition, Ox Hill has a partnership with the Fairfax County Office of Partnerships, which runs a computer learning center out of the church. But it wants to branch out into health and human services uses there, as well. And the county is even eyeing that location for a senior center.

Majette said last week's approval by the supervisors "represents [the culmination of] a process that we began three or four years ago, with discussion and review. So we are very excited about it."