The McLean Citizens Association has given its blessing to construction of a new Mormon church at the intersection of Kirby Road and Great Falls Street.
After weeks of controversy among residents of nearby Falls Church and McLean, the citizens association voted to support the project dependent on three conditions. First, the association wants use of the building for large conferences limited to six times a year.
In addition, the group wants to ensure that 27 percent of the parking lot is landscaped. Finally, association members have asked that church representatives continue to meet with local citizen groups to explore "alternative methods for covering surfacing the parking area," according to Gloria Adams, president of the McLean association.
But the church may be caught in county regulations, recently enacted, that require parking lots to have dustless surfaces; in other words, they should be constructed of concrete or asphalt, rather than gravel.
Gravel surfaces, however, can ease storm-water problems that can plague large parking lots.
Residents of the neighborhoods adjacent to the church had cited both storm-water runoff and increased traffic as major concerns.
But Charles Shumate, who represents the local stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is officially known, said the problems have been worked out.
A stake in the Mormon Church is similar to a diocese in the Catholic Church.
Members of Mormon congregations that meet in two locations in the McLean/Arlington area have been talking with local residents to resolve problems that arose when the proposed church application surfaced several weeks ago.
Although the application was filed in mid-July, notification was not sent to Dranesville Supervisor Nancy Falck's office or to neighborhood associations.
Residents complained of being left in the dark when signs announcing the proposed construction of the church were posted on a site that is now zoned for residential use.
Attorney Shumate said he thinks the church and community members have solved many of their differences.
A decision on the proposal is scheduled Oct. 16 by the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals.