Mason District Home
Penelope A. "Penny" Gross
Mason District Supervisor
Mason District Governmental Center
6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: 703-256-7717, TTY 711
Welcome to the Mason District homepage! It is designed for easy use, and I hope you will find the information both helpful and timely. Special features include Mason Matters!, my twice-a-year newsletter, information about reserving the public meeting rooms at the Mason District Governmental Center, and other meetings and activities throughout Mason District. Links to county agencies also are included. Please refer to the Web site often, and don't hesitate to contact me.
Penelope A. "Penny" Gross
Mason District Supervisor
The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – It's hard to believe that 2016 is nearly over! Winter Storm Jonas shut down everything for several days, followed by a very hot Spring, and a Summer thankfully without Code Red air quality days, all leading to a chaotic presidential election cycle with results that may reverberate for years. Our challenge as a community and a nation will be to seek to respect and understand our differences while, at the same time, embracing our commonalities, regardless of language, culture, faith, or ethnic background. It's a tall order, but Fairfax County leads the nation in meeting such challenges, and I am sure we can continue, together, to maintain our strong and caring community, and provide a beacon for others to follow. It may not be quite time for New Years' resolutions, but I hope that's one we all can adopt for 2017.
Included in this last 2016 e-edition of Mason Matters! is information about plans for the I-395 Express Lanes project, the Virginia Department of Transportation's updated snow emergency and road conditions website, and the Lincolnia Land Use College, which will provide insight and process about Comprehensive Plans, development rights and responsibilities, traffic, and how you can get involved. Even if you don't live in Lincolnia, the basic process is the same, and the Land Use College will help make you an informed advocate for the land use process in your neighborhood.
For the 21st consecutive year, I am pleased to invite you to attend the Annual Mason District Holiday Town Gathering, on Monday, December 12, at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. For each holiday event, I've tried to showcase local performers for a musical salute to the holidays – this year's performers will be The Bonnie Piano Quartet – along with refreshments, door prizes, and my annual State of Mason District report. I hope you will join your neighbors and friends and help kick off the holidays on December 12. My staff and I look forward to seeing you there. Happy Holidays!
Gardeners Holiday Open House – On Sunday, December 4, 12 – 4 p.m., the Friends of Green Spring and Green Spring Gardens welcome gardeners of all ages to a day of holiday fun in the garden, featuring holiday decorations and seasonal displays, live music, holiday breads and ornaments for sale, and free refreshments. Bring the children to a holiday puppet show by Bob Brown Puppets at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (advance registration for the puppet show is recommended; $4/person). Free admission. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring, or call Green Spring Gardens at 703-642-5173. Green Spring Gardens is located at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria.
Be Wary of Financial Scams this Holiday Season – A long time constituent advised that she had received, by special delivery, an unsolicited small check (less than $25) from a mid-West financial institution -- or so it seemed. The accompanying letter urged her to cash the check. She had never heard of the institution, and was not expecting any kind of check from anyone. A quick check with the Fairfax County Police Department revealed that this is a fairly common SCAM at this time of year. If you cash the check, it bounces, and is returned to the maker, now with personal your bank information attached. Please beware of this, or any other, attempt the separate you from your hard-earned money.
If you are the recipient of an unsolicited check in the mail, do not cash the check. Call the police non-emergency number (703-691-2131) and have an officer respond or arrange to go to a district station in person. The officer taking the report will want to collect the check, the envelope/package it arrived in, and any other associated correspondence. The Financial Crimes Section will investigate and copy the Postal Inspectors, as they also track these sorts of scams. Financial Crimes will be the subject of discussion at the next Mason Police Citizens Advisory Council (CAC), Tuesday, December 6, at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.
You're invited to College – On Thursday, December 15, from 7 - 9 p.m., at the Holmes Middle School cafeteria, located at 6525 Montrose Street in Alexandria, the Lincolnia Land Use College continues its series of classes that provide information about the development process in Fairfax County, and how residents can participate in the decision-making process. The December 15 class focuses on "Implementing the Plan." Questions will be answered, such as:
- Who decides what gets built where?
- What can we do about traffic and housing costs?
- Why is development happening in some areas, but not others?
- How can I shape my neighborhood's future?
Attendance at the college will help participants provide insight during the Lincolnia Study (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/lincolnia/about.htm). Registration is not required. Can't make it to class on December 15? All presentations are available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/lincolnia/meetings.htm.
VDOT Expands Resources this Winter – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is ready for snow season with plow-tracking technology, expanded monitor program, and a new one-stop shop for online resources that are available for residents to use. VDOT has budgeted $82.7 million for snow removal in Northern Virginia this winter, and the agency's state and contracted fleet is ready with more than 4,500 pieces of equipment.
Highlights for Snow Season 2016-2017
- One stop-shop for resources: Visit www.virginiadot.org/novaemergency to access all of VDOT's online information resources, including important messages and updates, news releases, and links to the customer service center, 511, and vdotplows.org
- Monitor program expanded: This year, 180 VDOT employees will ride the roads to monitor road conditions and snowplow progress, and more than 30 employees will monitor remotely via the automatic vehicle locator (AVL) equipment.
How You Can Help and Resources
- Monitor forecasts
- Adjust commutes, telework, and avoid driving if possible
- Ensure enough gas, wiper fluid, proper tires, food, water and medicine when driving
- Park in driveways or work with neighbors to park on the same side of the street to give plows room to pass. Watch this video on how to properly shovel your driveway before the plow arrives
- Give plows room to work
- Stay connected
New this year: virginiadot.org/novaemergency for news releases, important messages, frequently asked questions and links to other resources, including:
- 511virginia.org for road conditions
- vdotplows.org for neighborhood status and locations of plows
- @vadotnova on Twitter
- my.vdot.virginia.gov or 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) to report issues.
Need a Notary? – Notarial services are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Office of Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, located in the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Please call 703-256-7717 in advance to ensure the notary is available to assist you when you arrive.
Mason News and Updates – If you know individuals who would like to receive news and updates about Fairfax County services and events in Mason District, ask them to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, or the news and updates, please send an e-mail and include unsubscribe in the subject line to remove your e-mail address from the subscription list.
VDOT Schedules Additional I-395 Express Lanes Public Meetings – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in partnership with the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, will host two additional meetings to get public comment about the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension project. The project extends the I-395 Northern Express Lanes for eight miles, from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road to Eads Street near the Pentagon.
A Public Information Meeting was held Thursday, December 1, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Robert E. Lee High School, 6540 Franconia Road in Springfield. Note: Formal presentation at 7 p.m., followed by public comments. The project's draft EA, which will be presented at the meetings, is available on VDOT's Web site ( www.virginiadot.org/395expresslanes), and at the following locations: VDOT Permitting Office, 4975 Alliance Drive in Fairfax; Arlington Central Library (Virginia Room), 1015 North Quincy Street in Arlington; and Arlington County Government Center, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington; and Beatley Central Library, 5005 Duke Street in Alexandria.
Public comment about the design plans or draft EA, will be accepted until close of business on Monday, December 12, 2016, and may be sent by e-mail 395expresslanes@VDOT.Virginia.gov, or first-class mail to Ms. Amanda Baxter, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. Please reference "I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension" in the subject line. Project information is available at www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/395_express.asp. For more information, contact Susan Shaw, P.E., project manager at Susan.Shaw@vdot.virginia.gov, or call 703/259-0243 (main Northern Virginia District).
Bank of America and Dogfish Head Alehouse Receive Beautification Awards – The Bailey's Crossroads Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation (BC7RC) has named its 2016 Beautification Award recipients, the Bank of America Financial Center, located at 6307 Arlington Boulevard, and Dogfish Head Alehouse, located in the Seven Corners Shopping Center at 6220 Leesburg Pike. Each received an award recognizing their landscaping and well-maintained properties. The award program was established by BC7RC in 2016 to recognize commercial and multi-family residential properties that contribute to the well-being of the area. Nominations for the 2017 Beautification Award will be accepted in spring 2017, and the form will be available on BC7RC's Web site at www.bc7rc.com.
Fairfax County's Hypothermia Prevention Program in Progress – Because of the successful public-private partnerships that serve the critical needs of chronically homeless persons, the 2016-2017 Fairfax-Falls Church emergency hypothermia shelters are open under a "no turn-away" status from now until March 31, 2017 at all emergency shelters ( www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/hypothermia-prevention/emergency-shelter.htm), based on freezing temperatures. If you see someone at night who is unsheltered and could be at risk of hypothermia, call the county's non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131 (TTY 711). Information about the Hypothermia Prevention Program is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/hypothermia-prevention/.
Volunteers Needed for DFS VITA Program – The Fairfax County Department of Family Services (DFS) coordinates a regional, volunteer-run Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, which provides free tax assistance to individuals and families with low incomes. Volunteers are needed from late January to April 2017 for three to five hours, once or twice a week. Multiple locations are available throughout Northern Virginia. Tax preparers and screeners should have experience preparing a tax return, but no experience is necessary for interpreters and greeters. No experience in tax preparation is needed because training is provided. Classroom and/or online training available from December 2016 through January 2017, and all tax preparers must pass an IRS certification test. For more information about the VITA program, or to register as a volunteer, please visit www.nvacash.org, or call Tatyana Chambers, volunteer coordinator, at 703-533-5702.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – The December edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Jack Weyant, director, and Nancy Stallings, investigator, both with the Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance. Fairfax County is a diverse and thriving urban county, with a population exceeding that of eight states and the District of Columbia, and has the largest concentration of technology jobs in the nation. Coupled with its proximity to the Nation's Capital, Fairfax County also is a desired destination for corporate headquarters, who often have employees from throughout the country and the world. Long-term residents and newcomers alike, appreciate our quality of life and, to keep it thriving, we have ordinances that ensure our communities stay vibrant. Mason Matters! airs on Cable Channel 16 every Thursday at 7 p.m., and every Friday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m., and daily on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason.
The Quick 411 – Is there a high risk for deer collisions this time of year? Yes. White-tailed deer in our area are in mating season, also referred to as the rut. It begins in October, peaks in November, and continues in December. It is the time of year when these four-legged animals are most active, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Unfortunately, this also means a higher number vehicle collisions. Each year, more than 50 percent of all deer-vehicle collisions occur October through December. For more information and driving tips, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/high-risk-for-deer-collisions-drive-cautiously.
More news and information can be found at the NewsWire.