ACTION ALERT: DESPERATELY SEEKING CHRISTIANS! HALT VIRGINIA WAHHABI SAUDI SCHOOL EXPANSION (THE HEARING IS TONIGHT!)
Brian over at Snapped Shot tells me the Fairfax campus sits on "Residential-Conservation" land. He has an extensive post on it here. Go.
Atlas and Jihad Watch have both brought to my attention that the Fairfax County Planning Commission is going to be holding a public hearing this evening on a proposed expansion to the Islamic Saudi Academy campus on Pope's Head Road. According to the Commission's agenda, the public is invited to comment on the proposal, but the decision will be made at a later date. Specifically, ISA is requesting:
This campus was purchased from Fairfax Christian School back in 1985 for $3 million dollars. The "R-C" designation referenced in the above text means that the land it sits on is "Residential-Conservation"—meaning that it is placed within a protected watershed, and may not exceed a very restrictive permanent occupancy limit.
SE 2008-SP-025 – ISLAMIC SAUDI ACADEMY – Appl. under Sect. 3-C04 of the Zoning Ordinance to permit building additions and associated modifications to site design and development conditions to an existing private school of general education. Located at 11101, 11115, 11121, 11123 Popes Head Rd. on approx. 34.05 ac. of land zoned R-C and WS. Tax Map 68-3 ((1)) 61, 62, 63, and 64. SPRINGFIELD DISTRICT.
Why, then, do I have a feeling that these exacting restrictions are suddenly going to be waived to accommodate ISA's
Shoot, the original lease on that property was issued in 1988, and was only intended to last for five years.
And yet, here we are 20 years later, and they're still there.
Why the rush to "consolidate" their holdings so suddenly?
Beats me, but I do know that their website has this to say:
Remember: This means that the Academy seeks to move all 900 students to this Residential-Conservation property.
Please attend a public hearing to show your support of ISA’s application for a permit to build a new school on the Popeshead Road site. We encourage all parents to attend the hearing. Having more people at the hearing, in support of the project, will increase our chances of succeeding. Our lawyer and six other speakers will present our case to the Board of Supervisors. The meeting will take place at 8:15 p.m., the night of the 18th. There are two other cases scheduled for that night, so please be prepared to stay late.
The hearing will take place at:
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Parkway,
Fairfax, VA (near the Fair Oaks Mall)
We appreciate everyone’s support so much and hope that, with everyone’s help, we will soon be able to start building our new school.
Which is supposed to be low-occupancy in order to protect the greater Potomac River watershed.
As any homeowner in this part of town will tell you, the regulations faced on anyone owning this land are abundant and laborious.
In fact, to give you a little bit of reference, here's how Fairfax County treats Christian schools who try to make the same types expansions—From the Washington Post, 9 July 1985, Metro pg. D3 (via LexisNexis):
As you can see, even back in the days when this County was more Republican than it is today, the Board was hostile towards Christian schools.
Robert L. Thoburn, a Christian educator and former Republican state legislator from Fairfax, yesterday lost his bid to build a Christian school for 480 students in a residential neighborhood north of Fairfax City.
Thoburn's application to build the school in a thickly wooded section of Oakton was defeated on a tie vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The vote was 4 to 4, with Supervisor Joseph Alexander absent. Alexander said earlier he would have abstained on the vote because he was not present for a public hearing on the school a month ago.
Despite the Thoburns' charge that the decision on the school turned on political issues, Supervisor James M. Scott, a Democrat whose district includes the Oakton area, insisted that the board considered land-use issues paramount.
Scott, citing the county staff's recommendation that the Thoburn application be turned down, voted against the school. He said it did not conform to the county's master plan, which calls for single-family homes on large parcels in the area around Thoburn's land.
Scott said that Thoburn had made concessions to the county in the course of negotiations on the school, including cutting the size of the student body by about 100, but that these changes were "minor in relation to the requirements of the comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinance."
Thoburn founded the Fairfax Christian School in 1961, and until last year it was located on Pope's Head Road south of Fairfax City. Last year, the Saudi Arabian Embassy paid him $3 million for the school's old campus, and Thoburn moved into rented quarters in two Baptist churches on Ox Road south of Fairfax City.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that you can go into any church within Fairfax County and ask how their experience with the various County governmental agencies has been, and hear endless amounts of horror stories.
Mandatory (and expensive) traffic studies for any request to expand expansions. Outright denials of requests to expand parking lots to accomodate large congregations. Frequent and stringent inspections for code violations, which frequently result in citations for extremely minor infractions.
The list goes on.
There's much more - go here now.