Right-of-Way Waiver #986-WROW-001-1:
Mount Comfort Cemetery

Fairfax County Area IV
Rose Hill
Planning District
RH6 Mount Comfort Planning Sector
Vicinity Southgate Drive and South Kings Highway

  Article Prepared By Robert Michie
Trails and Sidewalk Committee, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 16 November 2014
Revision 3


SCI Virginia Funeral Services Inc. has filed a site plan to construct a mausoleum on their property in the Lee Planning District  (Tax Map #092-2-01 0023). 

The requestor is asking Fairfax County to waive the requirement for dedication and construction of right-of-way for the site plan.

Specifically, Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance Section 17-201,4 requests that SCI dedicate up to 43.5 feet of right-of-way from the road centerline which is typical for a typical 2-lane shoulder road section (South King's Highway). SCI requests that the County accept a modification to this request require a dedication of an additional 5.5 feet from the existing right-of-way, or 20.5 feet from the approximate road centerline, as current physical features prevent a full dedication of the right-of-way:

  1. The full requested right-of-way dedication will not be possible due to existing in-ground burials and a proposed landscape buffer.
  2. The cemetery has a large brick entrance feature that currently extends to less than 6.5 feet to the existing right-of-way.
  3. A Special use permit for the mausoleum (SPA-83-L-100-3) requires a landscape buffer between an existing burial garden and the existing chain link fence on the South Kings Highway frontage.
  4. An existing burial internment exists outside the grounds and in the location of any new pedestrian path.

Map 1: Map of Subject Area: The cemetery is shown (in white).
North on the map is "down"


Map 1 shows the property, which is located at 6600 South Kings Highway. The property has a 2/10 of a mile frontage on the Highway. A westbound bus stop is located approximately where the "2" is on the map. An eastbound bus stop is in the vicinity of Franklin Street. The South Kings Station condominium is to the right (east) of the property, and the Beacon Hill apartments are directly across the Highway from the cemetery.

South Kings Highway has existing four-foot wide sidewalks in the area. The sidewalks "leapfrog" from the north to the south side of the Highway in the vicinity of the cemetery. At this point, the sidewalk is on the north side of the Highway, and it ends at Southgate Drive. The sidewalk does not resume on the south side for about 150 feet. It resumes at the edge of the condominium property.

During the 45-minute field check on Sunday 9 November, there were 12 pedestrians moving through the area. An additional field check on the Veteran's Day holiday saw five more pedestrians in the area in 15 minutes.

Field Check  9 November 2014

Photo 1: South Kings Highway looking east. The subject property is on the left side of the fence. A line of graves is visible about fifteen feet from the fence. The existing pavement on the right side of the fence is also about fifteen feet away.
Photo 2: South Kings Highway looking east. A grave (Topic #4 in the Summary) is shown about six feet from the pavement. The worn footpath and the sidewalk in the distance shows pedestrian traffic  to and from the Beacon Hill apartments.
  Photo 3: Mt Comfort Entrance (to come)



Commenting on the Right-of-Way waiver is beyond the scope of the Fairfax County Trails and Sidewalks Committee. However, the Trails and Sidewalks requirement embedded in the waiver request is what our committee was established to comment upon.

Deny the Trails and Sidewalks waiver for the following reasons:

  1. Residents in the area as shown by Photo 2 and the 9 November Field Check need a safe and accessible sidewalk in this area.
  2. The gravesite shown in Photo 2 has been in place for over 50 years. It should have been relocated decades ago. Virginia State Law has provisions for relocating graves due to eminent domain needs or property transfers, even if the gravesite is considered abandoned.
  3. The rest of the right-of-way should be searched for additional (and probably unmarked) gravesites.




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