A request to permit use of a 23-room house to Clifton as a church conference center was denied yesterday by the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals.

The permission was sought by the Bethesda Christian Center Inc., which wanted to have conferences and seminars in the house at 12000 Henderson Rd.

William H. Hansbarger, an attorney for the center, said an appeal of the board's 3-to-1 decision will be carried to the county Circuit Court.

A public hearing on the center's application attracted more than 150 persons yesterday.

Its supporters argued that the non-denominational Christian center is needed by the religious community and would enhance the neighborhood. Several ministers said it would serve as a retreat center for area churches that lack adequate facilities for seminars and conferences.

Opponents, including some neighbors of the home, argued that it would spoil the rural nature of the community, generating unwanted additional traffic on narrow roads, that its use as a conference center would be unsafe.

County Supervisor Marie Travesky (D-Springfield) in whose district the residence is located, urged denial of a special use permit on grounds that the home has inadequate sewer facilities for the number of people who would attend conferences there.

Voting to deny the permit were board members William L. Durrer, Daniel Smith and John Yaremchuk. George P. Barnes voted for the permit and John DiGuilia abstained.