It's official: Ad Fontes Academy, a Christian school, will have a new home within Centreville Presbyterian Church. It got a thumbs-up last week from the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).
"We approved it 6-0," said BZA member Jim Hart. "There were no speakers against it."
The private school will occupy space that the church, itself, planned to use for a child-care center which has not yet materialized. In 2000, Centreville Presbyterian Church asked the county's permission to build both a place of worship and a child-care center.
The sanctuary now stands along Route 29 in Centreville, but the child-care center never came to pass. However, Ad Fontes wanted to rent space in the church until its own child-care center is up and running.
Before it could happen, though, Ad Fontes needed to obtain a special permit amendment from the county allowing it to operate there.
"The zoning doesn't permit a private school of general education there," explained attorney Lynne Strobel, representing both Ad Fontes and Centreville Presbyterian. "So, for the short term, it would be an alternative use allowed there — and not at the same time as the child-care center."
The enrollment will be up to 99 children — the same number as was previously approved for the church's child-care center. Currently, Ad Fontes has 60 students in fifth through 12th grades, and there's no school in the summer. And no more than 20 children will be able to use the playground at the same time.
Following an initial OK on Jan. 16 from the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee, the BZA gave the matter a unanimous endorsement at its meeting last Tuesday, Feb. 13. It doesn't need to go to the Board of Supervisors because the BZA has final approval of this case.
"There won't be any changes to the building," said Hart. "The only change is to who can use it."
<tgl> — Bonnie Hobbs