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November 16, 2020

Assemblies of God plans 42-acre Warrenton campus

Carson Land Consultants
Conceptual plan for the Antioch College and Potomac School of Ministries just south of Warrenton.
The advantage to us is that we’re on land that really is not going to have any neighbors. It’s an isolated parcel, which is kind of to our benefit. So I think we will get there.
— Rev. Bobby Basham, Potomac District of the Assemblies of God Inc.
Ministry Training Center
• What: Proposed 42-acre Potomac District Council of Assemblies of God Inc. “campus” near Warrenton that would serve as administrative “hub” of Antioch College and Potomac School of Ministry and to provide professional development and training for ministers, ministry students and adjunct faculty.

• Where: Between James Madison Highway and the Eastern Bypass, just north of the new Warrenton interchange.

• Landowner: Potomac District Council of Assemblies of God Inc., Gainesville.

• Zoning: One single-family home per acre.

• Background: The Potomac District in recent years began to outgrow its headquarters in Gainesville. Proposed Warrenton campus to meet long-range future expansion.

• Local government permission: County special exception permit, comprehensive plan and other approvals; Town of Warrenton extension of public water and sewer to site.

• Details: Three-phase plan calls for two-story, 30,000-square-foot administrative building and future 16,500-square-foot expansion; 2,000-story “gatehouse” to serve as caretaker’s residence and security office; two-story, 16,000-square-foot “education” center” to accommodate up to 500 attending profession development and training sessions; four, two-story residential units totaling about 2,000 square feet each for visiting faculty and returning missionaries.

• Timeline: Landowner hopes to get funding and necessary approvals to break ground late next year; complete 30,000-square-foot administrative building in mid-2022 and then relocate Gainesville staff there. Campus’ full build out could take 20 or more years.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
If all goes according to plan, the Potomac District of the Assemblies of God Inc. late next year hopes to break ground on a 30,000-square-foot administrative building just south of Warrenton.

The first of three “major” development phases also would include a 2,000-square-foot “gatehouse” that would double as a caretaker’s residence and security office, according to pre-application documents that the Gainesville-based organization filed earlier this year with Fauquier’s community development department.

The proposed two-story office building initially would house about 30 employees who would provide administrative support to the organization’s Antioch College and Potomac School of Ministry.

Need and available funds permitting, the structure would be expanded by 16,500 square feet, according to the proposal.

Owned by the Potomac District, the proposed 42-acre “campus” lies between James Madison Highway and the Eastern Bypass, just north of the new Warrenton interchange.

The organization started looking for new administrative headquarters because it had begun to outgrow the Gainesville building in recent years, said Rev. Bobby Basham, the school of ministry’s assistant director.

“We’re already out of space,” Rev. Basham said. “We’ve taken a chapel and had to put offices in it.”

Its ownership of property there dates to 1991, when the Assemblies of God purchased 9.9 acres for $320,000 and later added adjacent parcels. Two recent purchases, totaling $1.6 million, have added more than 25 acres to the proposed campus.

The project will require special exception permit, comprehensive plan and other county government approvals. The site’s one-home-per-acre zoning allows the proposed use.

Fauquier’s planning commission could hold a public hearing on the project next spring, Rev. Basham said.

“We’re shooting for probably March,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

The five-member commission serves as an advisory panel to the board of supervisors, which has final authority.

While Phase I represents a multimillion-dollar investment, Rev. Basham hesitated to provide development cost details related to the Potomac Ministry Training Center.

Not until the organization gets county government approval and permission from the Town of Warrenton to serve the project with public water and sewer, “will we be ready to move forward to get our own pricing, our project designs,” Rev. Basham said. “All we have is conceptuals at this point.”

With site work starting late next year, the nonprofit organization would hope to relocate its approximately 25-member staff from Gainesville to Warrenton in 2023, Rev. Basham said.

Phase II calls for a two-story, 16,500-square-foot “educational center” that would provide professional development and training for up to 500 teachers and ministers or those seeking ministry certification, he explained.

“That building’s no doubt a good 20 years down the road,” Rev. Basham said. “It’s just going to be expensive.”

Phase III would provide “respite housing” for “visiting faculty” and “returning missionaries,” according to the proposal. The plan envisions the construction of four, two-story structures of approximately 2,000 square feet each.

Ultimately, funding will determine the build-out schedule for the entire project, Rev. Basham said.

The Potomac District of the Assemblies of God includes Maryland, Washington, D.C, two-thirds of the commonwealth from Northern Virginia to Virginia Beach and the top third of West Virginia.

Within that region, it “supports” 355 churches and about 1,100 ministers, along with “several” missionaries in other countries.

Fully accredited to award bachelor’s degrees in ministry, Antioch College provides instruction through “more of an extension-type set up,” Rev. Basham explained. “So we meet at area churches on a regular basis” at 20 locations.

Today, Antioch College has about 240 students and intends to increase enrollment to 400.

“There may be some onsite (college) education” at the Warrenton campus, “but we still would like to keep that remote,” Rev. Basham said.

Potomac District officials became interested in the Warrenton site about four years ago.

“It seemed like an ideal location for us” and “a really good fit” to accommodate the organization’s existing and future needs, Rev. Basham said.

For several reasons, he also believes the project should appeal to Fauquier.

People who attend training and professional development seminars will eat local restaurants and stay in nearby hotels, Rev. Basham said.

“As students and our ministers will travel in and through the area for seminars and education, that’s going to bring some good economic activity,” he said.

The project would extinguish up to 40 potential single-family home lots whose development would place demands on various public services.

“We understand in Fauquier County one of the last things somebody wants is another housing development,” Rev. Basham said. “So, it kind of takes that off of the table.”

The organization intends to make the project “blend in” as much as possible with its surroundings, he said.

He remains confident that can be achieved because of the property’s location.

“The advantage to us is that we’re on land that really is not going to have any neighbors,” Rev. Basham said. “It’s an isolated parcel, which is kind of to our benefit. So I think we will get there. We’re trying to do all our homework.”

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.


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karl engels · November 25, 2020 at 10:31 am
The last thing this area needs is another church, how about some actual infrastructure instead of another tax dodging money pit.
Cammie Rodgers · November 18, 2020 at 6:40 pm
Evann- While I agree completely with your nincimpoop President statement, my concern isn't about taxes, but prejudice.

Christian group OK? Muslim group not OK (they had a contract on the land on Meetze Road that was contingent on being able to build a religious center), the BOS said NO!

That is worth bringing up and questioning the motives behind the decision IMO.
Evann · November 18, 2020 at 5:38 pm
All these people are mad about taxes. You don't care when your nincompoop president doesn't pay taxes. Suddenly you care about this, as though it affects you in any way, shape or form. Why do you care what these people do with their own property?? This is a school- not a church, they will pay taxes, and they will be paying for their own water and sewer expansion.

It almost seems like people in this county, have nothing better to do than to complain about stuff. Here's a thought... If it doesn't benefit you- just drive by it. They've purchased the property, they own it fair and square, and it's either this- or 30 to 40 by-right houses go on this site. If that happened- you'd be mad about that.

You will all be okay.
Djmiller813 · November 18, 2020 at 11:46 am
This is such a great thing to have! As someone who attended a Assembly of God most all my childhood it was such a great experience ! I think this is what we need in Fauquier County! It would bring more people this way to worship and bring business to local stores and restaurants! I’m just hoping in all these plans there is a Church that people can attend that live out pass Warrenton who have no local Assembly of God
Djmiller813 · November 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
This is such a great thing to have! As someone who attended a Assembly of God most all my childhood it was such a great experience ! I think this is what we need in Fauquier County! It would bring more people this way to worship and bring business to local stores and restaurants! I’m just hoping in all these plans there is a Church that people can attend that live out pass Warrenton who have no local Assembly of God to attend! I would love to be able to go back to church and with the Nation in such shambles we need more God in our lives! We should stand behind the Church and stop creating division! I
fpharris1 · November 17, 2020 at 4:40 pm
This might be the most anti-church place I've ever lived. Every single comment below is negative. Let's do this instead ... let's open up the county to more residential development. Goodness knows we have plenty of spare land to go around! People escaping urban areas due to the pandemic would be happy to snap up new homes in Fauquier! They'd spend money and broaden the tax base right? Think of all the new fast food places and mass market retail stores they'd bring in!

And we all know why the county denied permission to the Muslims for their event location right? (And they weren't going to build a mosque, by the way). They denied it because county leadership wants Fauquier to stay all-white and Christian. They have no tolerance for "them."

It's disheartening to see so many anti-Christian people posting here.
Sammy · November 17, 2020 at 8:53 am
stop eroding county tax base .. every year tax base disappears to easements and giveaways instead of growing the local economy .. just say no to this concession -- it will be paid by taxpayers, we cannot afford it .. stop shifting tax burden to residents, find businesses to share the cost and give locals jobs and shopping -- not many are pilots
badelectronics · November 17, 2020 at 7:49 am
badelectronics · November 17, 2020 at 7:45 am
Maddie · November 16, 2020 at 10:48 pm
"Ditto" to all previous comments.
Jayhawk · November 16, 2020 at 7:41 pm
Just what Fauquier County needs, a new "development" which will consume public services and resources, pay no taxes, and essentially be the "gateway" vision of newcomers. Surely, surely, Fauquier citizens will not be forced to accept this situation. More junk, less quality, and no money.
Silii · November 16, 2020 at 7:06 pm
So, under cover of being a 'church', this will all go untaxed? Fauquier citizens would not lose money would a non-church entity develop this land? Meanwhile, all homeowners can expect their real estate taxes to soar once again after this year's phony reassessments. Let these people expand in Prince William County.
Virtus · November 16, 2020 at 4:23 pm
Who will pay for the Town of Warrenton extension of public water and sewer to the site?
Cammie Rodgers · November 16, 2020 at 3:22 pm
Wait a minute here. Didn't the County deny the people that wanted to build on 500 acres along Meetze Road to have a religious center, only that time it was a Mosque. The county said that the roads and infrastructure could not handle that many visitors and staff, and they weren't even asking for public sewer and water access. What's different now?
HappyBob · November 16, 2020 at 2:57 pm
This group is tax-exempt, meaning they will pay no property taxes. The staff is mostly volunteer and outside of our County, so no jobs. They will not utilize our local restaurants and shops as they will be on the property the entire day. Most will be using hotels in other Counties that can handle their numbers for the weekends. Surrounding properties, including mine, will lose value and be re-assessed, reducing property taxes to Fauquier County.

Nobody that I have spoken to, that lives here, wants this. Nobody here is going to use this. What purpose does it serve to residents? You know, the ones that live here year-around, send our kids to school here, and pay taxes here....

So we have a group that does not live here, wants to use our roads, our police, our fire and paramedics, inconvenience neighbors, bring down property values, and will provide nothing in return to the community. Does that sound like a good idea to you? Because if it does, I'm sure glad you are not the one making decisions for our community.
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