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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Supervisors approve Afghan funeral chapel on Braddock Road



A rendering of the funeral chapel planned for Braddock Road.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning special exception Jan. 27 to allow the construction of a funeral chapel at 6839 Braddock Road serving the Afghan community.

The applicant, Keith Martin, representing the Afghan Academy, agreed to a long list of development conditions, including limiting occupancy to 90 seats and adjusting the hours to reduce the impact on traffic at the busy Braddock/Backlick intersection.

During a Planning Commission hearing in October, local residents raised numerous concerns about the impact of the funeral chapel on parking, traffic, and pedestrian safety. They also complained that people going to the mosque across the street were parking on neighborhood streets.

Mohammad Bashir, the director of the Mustafa Center, told the Board of Supervisors that there were several meetings with community groups and both sides reached an agreement.

While the mosque and the funeral chapel would be operated by the Afghan Academy, they are totally different entities with different functions, Bashir said. “There is no owner. The mosque and funeral chapel belong to the Afghan community.”

The funeral chapel is needed because it would carry out functions that cannot be done anywhere else in Fairfax County, he said. A retired engineer and member of the Afghan community added that the closest Afghan funeral chapel is in Woodbridge and is unsanitary and too small.

Jon Clark, a resident of the Annandale Acres neighborhood, said he doesn’t oppose the facility but has concerns about how the Fairfax County planning and zoning process ignores the needs of residential areas. Land issues should be considered comprehensively, he said, and because the mosque is also run by the Afghan Academy and is directly across the street, it should have been included in the discussion.

When the mosque was approved, there was a development condition limiting occupancy to 100 people, Clark said, but now there are often 300 people there. The development conditions aren’t enforced and are thus meaningless, he said.

Penny Gross, the supervisor for the Mason District, noted that one of the development conditions states that if there is a future agreement addressing shared parking, the supervisor has to concur. That could happen, she said, if there’s a major event at the Immanuel Bible Church, which is next door to the chapel.

25 comments:

  1. Supervisor Gross basically said that the development conditions aren't going to be enforced as requested by the surrounding neighborhood because she concurs with shared parking. That is exactly what the residents were trying to stop, that is, people crossing Braddock Road and getting killed in the process. What was the purpose of residents negotiating conditions if Penny Gross is going to ignore the conditions.

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    1. If its death to cross Braddock, shouldn't you do something about conditions on Braddock, instead of fighting a funeral home?

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  2. Best of luck to people living there.

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  3. penny gross doesn't care about people. only developers.

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    1. Developer? Its just a mosque building a funeral home.

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    2. Apparently to "1/29/15 3:10 PM" an Afghan community which wants to erect a funeral chapel to prepare their dearly departed for burial are not "people" but "developers" and part of the "1%" (my take). This demonstrates the rampant irrationality among many in Mason District who regularly express their disdain for Penny Gross and those who want, and are able, to build structures (except big new public schools placed among acres of meadows, for the kids) in Mason District.

      The commenters who oppose new apartment buildings may have a valid point (I am not convinced, but others are). However, claiming this Afghan funeral chapel is just another project by a "developer" is jumping the shark and demonstrates how irrational certain people have become.

      Just because some people will oppose any proposed development does not mean that Penny Gross and the other responsible Fairfax County officials must or will deny every project proposed by a "developer" - who by definition is not a person but some evil demon unless it is you, or someone you know and like - yeah, that's how it works.

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  4. There was a lot of lying, and disrespect for the community going on in that hearing but you would never know that by looking at the video. Our Supervisor Penny Gross and the Department of Planning and Zoning did nothing to represent our side. In fact, despite her predictable and disingenuous denials, Penny did much to oppose the legitimate interests of the wider, established community. Unfortunately, Supervisor Gross always seems to get in the last paragraph of misinformation.
    I would highly recommend to the citizens of Mason District, and the rest of Fairfax County for that matter, to take up a new hobby: engagement in local politics (after the Super Bowl of course). What’s coming from the Fairfax County Government Center is going to be way worse even than what we have seen so far. Besides, local politics is a good game, it has its ups and downs but it can actually be rewarding sometimes. I’ve played football and it is fun, and rugby, paintball, boating, flying, skydiving, adventure racing, small business and other stuff and I can truly say local politics ranks right up there with the best of them. Besides if you don’t get involved you lose your country. Yes I know, but there’s still a chance of getting it back if we don’t wait too long to get in the game. Get involved, you know we need better choices.

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    1. You are hired!

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    2. Jon - You might want to put in some work ino drumming up a viable candidate to run against Supervisor Gross. She's done a lot of favors for some fairly influential residents over the last two decades and that gives her a huge advantage in the upcoming election. So, if you know of the proverbial Man or Woman on the White Horse who can give her a contest, don't hesitate to speak up. Personally, I believe a lot more folks will be interested in the next election after they receive this year's property tax bills. - Tom

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  5. Are people really that concerned about the traffic and pedestrian impact of an Afghan funeral chapel? I mean, I doubt that there are gonna be hundreds of Afghanis shuffling off the mortal coil every week and shutting down Braddock rd. Not like they're putting in a Costco.

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    1. No, people just dont want Muslims in their neighborhood. I grew up around here and I remember how some people "guaranteed" that "terrorists" would congregate at the mosque.

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    2. You obviously do not live near this intersection. This intersection is the #3 worst intersection in the State and #2 in the County for accidents. Get your facts straight prior to making remarks you no nothing about. The current Mosque has hundreds of people who attend and they park thorough out the shopping center on Friday so I am unable to use my shopping center every Friday afternoon. The Mosque has not been a good citizen to their neighbors and the Funeral Home will be run by the same group.

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    3. Hyperbolic intersection drama aside, I live one mile away off ravensworth, but I note your instant appraisal of the situation and my complete lack of knowledge. Just posing a question about how many Afghanis are likely to perish on a weekly basis and how much that'll really impact traffic, which I still assume to be minimal. As an aside, I'm not sure why everyone was hyperfocused on the Mosque when the church across the street causes what seems to be an order of magnitude more traffic and pedestrian flux.

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    4. In all the decades that the Immanuel Church has been there, they seem to have managed the parking and traffic situation adequately and I don't believe they've needed to enter into any kind of shared parking agreement as brought up by Penny Gross.

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    5. For 1) the Immanuel Church is already there 2) They provide police to direct traffic 3) they shuttle their visitors in mini buses 4) they have volunteers outside in big orange vest directing traffic in the parking lot. They try to be good neighbors. The Mosque let their visitors park in the shopping center, drive across medium (until barrier was put up), back up the traffic on Braddock and in the shopping center and they walk in the middle of the parking lot so you can not drive around them safely. Also the State had to put up a NO U Turn sign to keep their visitors from blocking Braddock Road to make a U-Turn. There is a difference in how they behave as a neighbor.

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  6. The general gist I get from this board is that most people dont wan't any development, other than a whole foods, in their area. But yeah, I'd go with the brown people thing too.

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    1. Exactly, I do not want Whole Food either unless it is in the old Blooms's. At Braddock & Backlick we can not sustain any more development.

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  7. Can any member of the public utilize the services of this funeral.chapel?




    open to all members of the public or just those of the Muslim faith.

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  8. I hope the funeral parlor won't look as trashy as the house there now. Has anyone noticed what appears to be a Junkyard ?

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  9. Clearly, most if not all of this blowback is just anti-Muslim sentiment. Sad and sorry to see this kind of hegemony in my community. Bad people come in all flavors, colors, religions, ethnicities. For centuries, people of all faiths have been killing one another in the name of one God or another. And they've all been wrong and used their faith badly.

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    1. Maybe you should take a look at the real situation instead of insulting people. The Mosque is not a good neighbor and has not been. They now wil be able to build a funeral home and this will not improve how they act. The State had to put up a barrier in the median because they were crossing the grassy median so they would not have to wait to get out of the parking lot. The state had to put up a "No U-Turn" sign because they were blocking traffic on Braddock Road. They park in the neighborhood and use all the parking spaces in the shopping center. They are not apologetic for their actions and instead now want more.

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    2. "2/4/15 8:29 PM" Thank you President Obama, you worthless empty suit. Christians for the most part gave up crucifixions centuries ago, but you keep up your morality lectures you fool.

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    3. ^^^ This guy is seriously a very confused angry person.

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    4. Adam, your moral superiority act is getting old fast. Grow up.

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    5. It's not an act, I legitimately believe I'm a better person than you.

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