Garfield Memorial Christian Church wants to stay in McLean, but to do so it may have to sell some of its land.
The church board is seeking a special permit from Fairfax County that would allow it to construct a new two-story building on a 0.87-acre portion of its property at 1731 Great Falls Street, according to an application filed on 11 July.
To fund the project, which will replace the existing church built in 1960, the council is proposing to sell the remainder of its 4.1-acre plot for residential development, a claim justification statement says.
“The plaintiff has been postponing necessary repairs and upgrades for many years due to funding constraints,” Lynne Strobel, Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh land use lawyer, wrote on behalf of the board. “Plaintiff has a small but vibrant congregation that wishes to continue the operation of the church on plot 21A. It has become necessary for the Plaintiff to seek creative ways to remain on their property in McLean.
A church staff member declined to comment on the proposal when contacted by FFXnow, saying it’s too early to share details as the county has yet to officially accept the request for review. .
According to its website, Garfield Memorial Christian Church began as a missionary church in 1955 under the Capital Area Christian Churches and the United Christian Missionary Society. It held its first service at Pimmit Hills Elementary School before moving to its current building in 1961.
For the new building, the board envisions a unique structure “constructed of frame and masonry with a peaked shingle roof”.
“The building will be constructed in a traditional architectural style and will include a bell tower,” the application states. “A small accessory storage shed for lawn equipment will be located on the subject property.”
The church will comprise approximately 7,593 square feet of space, including a 100-seat sanctuary, as well as a cellar not included in the gross floor area. The building “will be consistent” with the single-family detached homes that surround the triangular lot, the application says.
With two full-time staff members, the church has daily office hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offers Sunday services at 10 a.m. and noon.
According to demand, the new building will need 25 parking spaces. A traffic impact study estimated that it will generate around 51 trips when travel peaks during the Sunday morning service.
The rationale statement indicates that a fence and transition screen will be provided as a buffer between the church property and the surrounding homes.
Photo via Google Maps