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Votes

Special-Use Permit Approved, For Now

City Council will reconsider special-use permit to build a church downtown.

At its Tuesday night meeting, the Fairfax City Council voted to approve a local church’s special-use permit pending re-evaluation by the full Council at its next regular meeting.

The Council heard a presentation by Stephan K. Fox, attorney for the One God Ministry Church, regarding the church’s request for a special-use permit to build at church on 4280 and 4282 Chain Bridge Road.

The proposed site for the church is in an area zoned to be “medium density residential,” Fox said.

“One special-permit use allowed in an R-3 area is for a church, so we’re not seeking to change the zoning in that area,” Fox said. “We’re looking to have the approval to use that special-use permit.”

Fox said that the church’s planners were originally requesting an exemption to the city’s frontage requirements, hoping to have the amount of space between the road and the church reduced from 25 feet to 20 feet.

“We were able to revise the plan to eliminate the need for that exemption,” Fox said.

Council member Scott Silverthorne had requested that the approval of the special-use permit be deferred until the meeting on Sept. 28, due to the absence of two Council members. After a brief discussion, the Council approved the request but will reconsider it at the next meeting with a full Council.

ALSO AT the meeting, Silverthorne spoke about a recent article in The Washington Post about Philadelphia’s plan to become a wireless Internet city.

“It’s an intriguing idea,” Silverthorne said. “I had a brief discussion with the staff (at City Hall) and with some people at George Mason University, and they said they may be interested in working with us,” he said.

“The cost is uncertain right now, but it may be around $200,000,” Silverthorne said, adding that the article had Philadelphia officials comparing the cost of turning the city into a “hot spot” to building a new library.

“Then again, this technology is still evolving quickly and in five years it may be obsolete,” Silverthorne said.

Council member Joan Cross said that she’d read the article as well and was interested in the concept.

“It’s something to pursue,” she said. “I think it would be beneficial to the residents of the city and also to the students.”

Mayor Rob Lederer said that it appeared the Council had a “consensus” and gave Silverthorne permission to have City Hall staff begin looking into the project.

The next Fairfax City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m., in City Hall.