It was round three last week for Mount Olive Baptist Church. It made its third appearance this year at the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee to discuss plans for its new church.
AND AS USUAL, members of this longtime Centreville church turned out in force to support their proposal, along with their pastor, the Rev. Eugene Johnson, and attorney Steve Fox.
Actually, the whole issue is one of long duration — beginning in 2000 when Fairfax County granted Mount Olive a rezoning to add more land and a special-exception permit to build a preschool/childcare facility.
The church even broke ground for a new sanctuary in October 2005, but the design proved too costly to build and only contained 1,000 seats (Mount Olive currently has 400). So the church drew up a plan seating 1,150 people to start with, with 350 more seats added later on for 1,500 total.
But because it revised its proposal, it couldn't proceed until it obtained a whole, new review and approval from the county. It's still underway and, last Tuesday, Nov. 21, Fox further refined the plans.
The church must make transportation improvements to Mount Olive and Old Centreville roads before it can receive the county's blessing. And although doing so will put a serious crimp in the church's budget, it has agreed to do so.
Old Centreville Road will get full, frontage improvements — curb, gutter and a trail or walkway — in phase one of the building program, and Mount Olive Road will be upgraded during phase two. Fox said some of the church parking will also be shifted from the Old Centreville Road frontage area.
In addition, because of Old Mill Road's proximity to Mount Olive Road, the county Department of Transportation worried that the church planned to have its members exit onto Old Mill. However, the church agreed to use that exit only on Sunday between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. And when phase two — the new parking lot across the street — is completed, the church will close its access to and from Old Mill, altogether.
The WFCCA's Carol Hawn requested that Mount Olive ask VDOT for permission to stripe a pedestrian crosswalk on Old Centreville Road.
THAT WAY, she explained, "People would know they need to cross Old Centreville Road there to continue on the trail. It connects with the existing trail along Old Centreville Road that goes to Centre Ridge and the rest of Centreville."
WFCCA members also asked the church to have a phase I architectural study done to look for any historic artifacts that may be on that site.
Fox is scheduled to return to the WFCCA in December to present architectural drawings of the 55,000-square-foot facility. The matter then goes to the county Planning Commission on Jan. 11.