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Possible rebuild and land sale in store for 52-year-old McLean church

Garfield Memorial Christian Church on Great Falls Road in McLean (via Google Maps)

Garfield Memorial Christian Church wants to stay in McLean, but in order to do so, it may need to sell part of its land.

The church’s board of trustees is seeking a special permit from Fairfax County that would enable 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 July 11.

To fund the project, which will replace the existing church built in 1960, the board proposes selling the remainder of its 4.1-acre parcel for residential development, a statement of justification for the application says.

“The applicant has deferred needed repairs and upgrades for many years due to funding constraints,” Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh land-use attorney Lynne Strobel wrote on the board’s behalf. “The applicant has a small but vibrant congregation that wants to continue the operation of the church on Parcel 21A. It has become necessary for the applicant to seek creative ways to remain on its property in McLean.”

A church staff member declined to comment on the proposal when contacted by FFXnow, stating that it’s too soon to share details when the county hasn’t officially accepted the application for review yet.

According to its website, Garfield Memorial Christian Church started as a mission church in 1955 under the Capital Area Christian Churches and United Christian Missionary Society. It held its first service in Pimmit Hills Elementary School before relocating to its current building in 1961.

For the new building, the board of trustees envisions a single structure “constructed of frame and masonry with a peaked shingle roof.”

“The building will be constructed in a traditional architectural style and include a steeple,” the application says. “A small accessory storage shed for lawn equipment will be located on the subject property.”

The church will encompass 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 houses 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 the application, the new building will need 25 parking spaces. A traffic impact study estimated that it will generate approximately 51 trips when travel peaks during the Sunday morning service.

The statement of justification says a fence and transitional screening will be provided as a buffer between the church property and the surrounding homes.

Photo via Google Maps

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