‘We’re Looking Forward to Building Something Nice’ in Chantilly

‘We’re Looking Forward to Building Something Nice’ in Chantilly

New church, private school proposed

Our Lady of Lavang Parish wants to build a place of worship in Chantilly. And attorney Lynne Strobel presented details of its plan during a joint online meeting of the Sully District Council and West Fairfax County Citizens Assn. (WFCCA).

The mostly wooded site is about 33 acres at the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Herndon Avenue in Chantilly. It’s zoned Residential Conservation, which allows churches and other places of worship to build there with a special permit granted by Fairfax County.

“The [Catholic] Diocese has been looking for quite some time for a suitable location to serve its parishioners who live in this part of the county,” said Strobel. “It’s across from Cub Run Road, and that’s where the entry point is.”

She said childcare – for before and after school – would be available for the children enrolled in the church’s nursery and private school. And the site improvements would be accomplished in phases.

“First, they’d build a worship center with 400 seats, plus supporting activities,” said Strobel. “Then they’d build a place of worship [the church, itself] and repurpose the worship center. There would also be a rectory on the property so, all totaled, the improvements would comprise about 120,500 square feet. The school will be built in a later phase.”

The property would have 65 percent open space, of which 50 percent would remain undisturbed. And although the parcel has a public sewer, the church would provide stormwater management – which the site currently doesn’t have.

The 860-seat sanctuary would be implemented in two phases, and the private school would serve 540 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The nursery school would be built for 60 children, and the entire property would contain 367 parking spaces.

“The church would be centrally located, with the school at the bottom of our diagram,” said Strobel, referring to a drawing of the proposed site plan. “Parents would pick up and drop off their children in front of the school and exit onto Herndon Avenue. And the county is installing a traffic signal at Herndon Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road. The Diocese wants to have a church here because its members in this area of Fairfax County continue to grow.”

The matter is slated to go before the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on June 9, and BZA Vice-Chairman Jim Hart said, “There’s a lot of traffic backed up on Herndon Avenue in the morning, and it’s very congested now. So I’m assuming you’re looking at that issue.”

Strobel replied that the new traffic signal will help alleviate the situation. And, she added, “Our site’s entrance is quite a distance from that intersection.”

Hart also asked if there are any environmental issues associated with that location, and Strobel said no. “This is a nice piece of property for the Diocese,” she said. “And we’re looking forward to building something quite nice.”

The joint land-use committee members then voted and determined they have no objection to this plan moving forward.