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Mount Olive Baptist Gets OK

By Bonnie Hobbs

It's on to the Board of Supervisors now for Mount Olive Baptist Church. It got a thumbs-up last week from the Fairfax County Planning Commission to build a whole, new church in Centreville.

Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch said a large number of church members attended the Planning Commission's meeting last Wednesday, Jan. 10, and "they were happy that, finally, [their proposal's moving forward] and they'd cleared another hurdle."

THE CHURCH hopes to construct a facility for 1,100 people initially and add 400 more seats later on. Phase one consists of building a sanctuary on the south side of Mount Olive Road, where the church is now.

Also included are a child-care area for 100 students on weekdays, 14 classrooms for Sunday School and other Christian-education activities, a chapel seating 120, a fellowship hall, administrative wing and 379 parking spaces.

In addition, Mount Olive must dedicate 35 feet of right-of-way along Old Centreville Road and build half of a two-lane section there, plus a right-turn/deceleration lane at the property's entrance.

In phase two would come more seats for 1,500 total, plus more parking spaces — for a total of 555 — on the north side of Mount Olive Road. And at that point, the church would have to make frontage improvements to Mount Olive Road.

Access to Old Mill Road would only be allowed on an interim basis during phase-one development — and just on Sundays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. And it would end when phase two is developed.

The church's plan has been in the works for several years but now, at long last, its members are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and Koch is pleased about it.

"I know it's been frustrating for them, but they've been very patient and congenial and worked with the system," he said. "They're such a big part of Centreville, and that church has been here as long as I have. I'm going to kind of miss the old church, but the new one will be more functional for them, so I was very happy to recommend approval."

Next stop is the county Board of Supervisors on Jan. 22.