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Church Seeks to Build on Crowell Road at Hunter Mill

by Karen Goff April 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm 10 Comments

crowell at Hunter Mill1The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is seeking a zoning change in order to build a 16,558-square-foot location at Crowell and Hunter Mill Roads.

The LDS Church has filed a special permit exception with the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals. The church is seeking to build a place of worship on land designated residential on the Vienna-Reston line.

Land Use attorneys and other church representatives are holding a community meeting Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 2719 Hunter Mill Rd. in Oakton.

Lori Greenlief, a planner with McGuire Woods, which is representing the church, said the parcel is 7.15 acres of land. It is across Crowell from where the Oakcrest School is building a new home and down the road from where Fairfax County is considering building a new septic tank dumping site.

Both of these developments have caused traffic concerns for Hunter Mill-area residents.

crowell at Hunter Mill MAPThe church plans a one-story building with 292 seats and 233 parking spots.

Area LDS churches in North Reston (which is expanding its parking) and Oakton will not be closing if the project is approved, Greenlief said.

Greenlief said the church has completed a traffic study, which showed minimal to no impact during peak weekday morning and evening traffic. The main activities at the church will take place on Sundays, she said.

A BZA public hearing has tentatively been scheduled for June 15. Because it is a special permit, the church would not have to go through the Fairfax County Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

  • DawnM

    That is just ridiculous. When I first moved here 6 years ago I looked at buying a house near Crowells Corner and now I’m glad I didn’t. It was such a nice sleepy neighborhood too.

    • EliteinReston

      Opposing a stinky sewage disposal plant is one thing. Now we’re going to go after a ridiculous house of worship? God has an Ipad, and He reads our discussions from a sleepy neighborhood called heaven.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        Mythical entities can operate non-mythical devices? Who would have thought that?

  • Big Blue Biscuit

    This is a completely ridiculous proposal. Typical hubris and arrogance by all involved. So up until now its mostly being wealthy developers trying to force density in our last remaining low density areas – now its rich churches tearing down family homes.

    Do they think we don’t remember how the county reneged on their commitment to the community only to allow the Oakcrest exception if the exit was NOT right on Crowell. But there it is, right by dangerous bend.

    So now, before the school is even opened and we have to face up to the traffic carnage its going to cause, we have the same land use attorneys bringing another set of carpet baggers who think they’ll get away with it because churches and religious schools always do.

    I think we’ve all seen this movie before. First the school reneges on their promises, making life intolerable for the existing neighbors – then the church comes in and buys them out. Supervisor Hudgins should have smothered this baby at birth and the LDS should know better – this isn’t Utah

    Approving this would be a green light for any developer who wants to buy up and tear down existing homes along the Hunter Mill and put in whatever they want. I notice that this kind of sh*t doesn’t fly in Great Falls. Well, as we know from the sewage plan, there’s no sh*t of any kind allowed over there…

    Come on Cathy, how about standing up for your non-Restonian constituents once in a while! No more special exceptions along the Hunter Mill Road – stand by the comprehensive plan

    • Guest

      Excuse me, but on top of all the other blather in this comment, just when was the last time Cathy stood up for her Restonian constituents? Beyond the golf course driven by massive community outrage, I can’t think of a single example during her tenure. She’s all about the Board; not about ANY of her constituents.

    • Why do you bother?

      “Come on Cathy, how about standing up for your non-Restonian constituents once in a while!”
      .
      Please – she’s not interested in standing up for her RESTONIAN constituents, let alone anyone else.

  • letsbcivil2

    “the LDS should know better – this isn’t Utah” — that’s a pretty revealing statement. A place of worship throughout American history had always been viewed as building community, not impacting “density” — but then most of those were more often than not mainstream churches. Given your statement, I doubt you’d have the same reaction if the church proposed were no LDS. In either case, traffic at churches is predictable and limited, even if heavy at specified times. It is not the same thing as the commercial sprawl taking over Reston. And not that it matters, but to avoid one of this “comment” back and forth, I am not a member of the LDS faith
    .

    • Albert

      Building community means welcoming people of all walks of life, including members of the LGBT community.

  • Big Blue Biscuit

    letsbecivil2:

    Nope – I would have exactly the same perspective is this was catholic, islamic, LDS, evangelical, christian scientist, jewish or wiccan – or McDonalds, Exxon, McGruders or the Country Buffet. The area is zoned as low density residential – not as a church belt or a retail zone or a condo area or a sewage station, for a reason. For some reason, the county has got into the habit of allowing churches a free pass on planning. Witness the need for police officers on traffic duty on the Hunter Mill Road in Oakton and along Lawyers Road at the catholic church there. You could see this play out with the catholic Oakcrest – it was had the double advantage of being a religious establishment and a private school, which made it pretty much untouchable as could be seen in

    Given the development history of the area around that junction, including the portion Thoburn property that became the Oakcrest school, no commercial developer would have bought homes and grassland there on the assumption that they could be demolished and replaced by a big building and acres of blacktop

    Its hubris on the part of the LDS church (nothing particular against the LDS – I have worked with many LDS members and liked them a lot) to think that they would be able to get something like this through.

    They should have known better and they should have behaved better. If they want to build community there are plenty of ways they could do it – swooping in to take advantage of the damage caused by their sisters over at Oakcrest is not the way to build trust.

    The county has plenty of zoned but unbuilt land – build there. Stop thinking that just because you’re a religious establishment its okay to tear down existing homes in a traditional low density green buffer.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    One word: No.

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