Mason District Home


Penelope A. "Penny" Gross 

Penelope A. "Penny" Gross
Mason District Supervisor

Mason District Governmental Center
6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003

Phone: 703-256-7717, TTY 711
Fax: 703-354-8419

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  Resilience is one of my favorite words, as it defines the capacity to plan for and recover quickly from difficulties, natural or human-made.  Resilience is what local governments try to build, and train for, whether in a million resident Fairfax County, or a sparsely populated jurisdiction hundreds of miles away.  Resilience applies to all of us, regardless of age, faith, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or neighborhood, or whether the adversity is weather-related or human-made.  Resilience is inherent in some people, but most of us need to be reminded, and trained, to respond to emergencies, especially those that may last longer than a few hours.  

Longer than a few hours is what is facing residents of Texas and the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, and many Caribbean islands as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, whose destruction has devastated systems and, in some cases, the society of those areas.  Stories of neighbor-to-neighbor assistance have been heartwarming, but those same stories often point out the need to be better prepared for such emergencies. 

Resilience is the theme of Mason District's Resilience Summit and Expo, which I will host at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, on Thursday, October 12. The Summit will begin at 2 p.m. with a resilience and safety program tailored especially for senior citizens, their families, and caregivers.  Staff from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Police, Sheriff, Public Safety Communications, and others will present a variety of information and tips about how to be prepared for emergencies, and how to be safe.  From 4 to 6 p.m., the Resilience Expo will provide a variety of information about emergency preparation.  From 7 to 9 p.m., a General Session about resilience will convene, tailored for everyone, including emergency preparations in the school system, and for your pets.  More information is attached to this newsletter.  I look forward to seeing you there.

One of Mason District's best-known non-profit service agencies is celebrating its 50th anniversary on October 3.  The Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) was founded in 1967, to provide quality child care for low-income families.  ACCA's role has increased over time, with a food pantry, furniture ministry, rental assistance, and other community activities that are provided by extraordinary volunteers.  The celebration begins at 7 p.m. at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, 4329 Sano Street, in Lincolnia.  Attendees are asked to bring gently used suitcases for distribution to residents at the Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter. 

Absentee Voting Available at the Office of Elections and Seven Satellite Locations – In-Person Absentee Voting is available at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Conference Rooms 2/3 in Fairfax, from now until November 4, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  The Office of Elections and all Satellite Locations will be closed for in-person absentee voting on Monday, October 9 in observance of the Columbus Day holiday.

  • Expanded in-person absentee voting hours at the Office of Elections begin on October 16 – November 3, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  On Saturdays, September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28, and November 4, in-person absentee voting is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • In-Person Absentee Voting at Seven Satellite Locations, including the Mason Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, begins weekdays starting from October 16-November 3, from 3:30 to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays, September 30, October 7, 14, 21, 28, and November 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Last Day to Apply for an Absentee Ballot by Mail, Fax, E-mail, or Online: Tuesday, October 31 at 5 p.m. 
  • Last Day to Vote Absentee In-Person: November 4, 2017.
  • For Inclusion in the Election, Absentee Ballots must be returned to the Office of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 7, 2017.

Additional information about absentee voting for the November 7, 2017 election is available online at, by calling the Office of Elections at 703-222-0776; TTY 711, or e-mail at  If you have moved, need to update your voter registration, or need to register to vote, visit   The deadline to register to vote is October 16, 2017 at 5 p.m.; online 11:59 p.m.

Taste of Annandale Celebrates Community – Bring your family to the third annual "Taste of Annandale" on Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., along Tom Davis Drive, between Columbia Pike and John Marr Drive.  This community event opens with a 5K Race at 10 a.m., departing from the K-Mart parking lot, 4251 John Marr Drive in Annandale.  Runners can register for the 5K at   Taste of Annandale features American barbecue, a chili cook-off, international cuisines from local restaurants, and live multicultural music and dance.  Children's programming, hosted by the Annandale Christian Community for Action's Child Development Center, 7200 Columbia Pike in Annandale, includes a Dinorock show, puppets, crafts, games, live music, and more.  Admission is free.  For more information, visit the Taste of Annandale website at, or on Facebook at

Participate in the Annandale Fall Festival Parade! – The Annandale Chamber of Commerce will host the 66th Annual Annandale Fall Festival Parade on Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.  (Rain or shine.)  For more information, and for participant online registration, visit

Cleanout Medicine Cabinets of Unused and Expired Prescriptions On Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., the Fairfax County Police Department, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion Control Division, will take back unused and expired medications for proper disposal.  Stations serving Mason District include: Mason District Station, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale; Franconia District Station, 6121 Franconia Road in Alexandria; and West Springfield District Station, 6140 Rolling Road in Springfield.  Only prescriptions in liquid or pill form may be dropped off.  No needles or pressurized canisters will be accepted.  Disposal is free, safe, convenient, and confidential.  Information about year-round proper disposal of medications is available on-line at, or by calling the Health Department at 703-246-2411; TTY 711.  

Help the Annandale and Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Departments While Enjoying a Crab Legs and Spiced Shrimp Feast Enjoy an all-you-can-eat crab legs and spiced shrimp feast fundraiser on Sunday, October 29, 2 - 5 p.m. at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department, 7128 Columbia Pike in Annandale.  Soft drinks, libations (must be 21 years or older to purchase/consume), and assorted desserts will be available for purchase.  Proceeds assist the Annandale and Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Departments with ongoing apparatus and station costs.  Visit, or, or send an e-mail to The Annandale and Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Departments are non-profit 501c (3) organizations, and all donations are tax deductible, and may be mailed to: AVFD, P.O. Box 806, Annandale, VA 22003; and to the Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 1159, Falls Church, VA 22041-3609.

Outcome and Next Steps of FCPS Vote to Rename J.E.B. Stuart High School On September 16, 2017, and as outlined in Regulation 8170, residents in the J.E.B. Stuart High School pyramid voted on the names submitted for consideration to rename J.E.B. Stuart High School.  The top three names were "Stuart," "Justice Thurgood C. Marshall," and "Barbara Rose Johns."  In accordance with FCPS Regulation 8170.7, and based on the vote, the Division Superintendent formulated a recommendation consisting of one or more of the most popular name choices, which was transmitted to the School Board, which is solely responsible for consideration and action.  The School Board will consider the Division Superintendent's recommendation at its work session on Monday, October 16, and the School Board will vote on the new school name on Thursday, October 26, 2017.  Additional information is available online at

Mason Matters! The Television Show – Fairfax County is tasked with managing a diverse urban wildlife population, adhering to all federal and state laws, regulations, and county ordinances, and assisting stray, injured, and lost domestic animals within its habitat.  Our geographic area can support a limited number of animals without damaging the environment, but we must also work to protect the remnants of natural habitats in all possible ways.  It also is the county's responsibility to address Human Health and Public Safety issues, mitigate wildlife conflicts, and protect property from actual and potential damage.  The October edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Officer Jessica McLemore with the Fairfax County Police Department and Kevin Rose, a certified wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  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

Need a Notary? Notarial services are available from 9 a.m. to 4 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 to schedule an appointment.

Participate in Fire Prevention Week and Fire Stations' Open House The Fairfax County Fire Department joins departments nationwide in observing Fire Prevention Week – October 8 - 14, 2017, and will host an Open House at each Fire Station on Saturday, October 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  This year's Fire Prevention Week theme is: "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!"  It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.  Here are a few key tips:

  • Draw a map of your home by using a grid in  English (PDF) or  Spanish (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them.
  • Make sure your house number is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Information about fire prevention and safety year-round is available online at the Fire and Rescue Department website:, or call 703-246-2126.

Re-Imagining Community Through Art – All are invited to an art exhibit, free lunch, and community dialogue on Saturday, October 21, 2017, 1-3 p.m. at the James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Road in Falls Church.  This event, hosted by the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, Mason District Police Station, and the George Mason University School of Art, will provide adults and youth with the "art space" to be inspired by art, while participating in a visioning process for a better future.  Childcare provided.  For more information and to RSVP, please contact, or call 703-533-5475.

VCO Opens 47th Season with a Royal Flourish The Virginia Chamber Orchestra (VCO) is pleased to feature "Royal Tributes" with selections closely related to Queen Marie Antoinette of France, Queen Elizabeth II of England, and Salote Tupou III, Queen of Tonga, on Sunday, October 22 at 4 p.m. at the Ernst Community Cultural Center, Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale Campus, 8333 Little River Turnpike.  For more information and tickets (also available at the door), visit

Office Building Repurposing Comprehensive Plan Amendment Advances to Planning Commission – The proposed Office Building Repurposing Comprehensive Plan Amendment will come before the Planning Commission at a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 8:15 p.m. in the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax.  The proposed comprehensive plan amendment would facilitate the repurposing of vacant office buildings in mixed-use activity centers and industrial areas.  Repurposing means a change in use, such as a conversion from office to residential, live/work, institutional, public facilities, or light industrial uses.  For more information, visit, send an e-mail to, or call 703-324-1349.

Mason News and Updates–To receive news and updates about Fairfax County services and events in Mason District, send an e-mail to to subscribe.  If you wish to unsubscribe, send an e-mail and include unsubscribe in the subject line to remove your e-mail address from the subscription list.

The Quick 411 – Does Fairfax County offer any Halloween information?  Yes.  As we celebrate Halloween, here are a few things to know.  Some communities, cities, and counties designate a specific time and sometimes a day other than October 31 for trick-or-treating.  Fairfax County Government does not set a different date.  In 2017, Halloween is Tuesday, October 31.  Civic or homeowner associations, or apartment complexes, may set times for events, but neighborhood trick-or-treating generally is the evening of October 31.  Here are some safety tips to follow:

  • Children should only visit homes that have the porch light on.
  • Inspect your children's candy before they eat it — especially for any food allergies.
  • Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets, if possible.  Cross streets only at the corner and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
  • When trick-or-treating, use battery-powered lights, keep your devices charged, and pick a place to meet if you get lost. 
  • Make sure trick-or-treaters can be seen by wearing something reflective or carrying a flashlight or glow stick.
  • Make sure your child's Halloween costume is made with fire retardant materials, has eye holes large enough for your child to safely see out of the costume, and short enough so it doesn't interfere with walking.
  • Consider using makeup on children's faces instead of masks to allow them to see clearly.  
  • Drive below the posted speed limit in residential areas on Halloween, Tuesday, October 31.  This will give you time to brake if you see a child dart in front of you.
  • When giving candy, consider treats WITHOUT nuts and other common food allergies.

For more quick Halloween food safety tips, visit

For safety tips and community programs information, visit the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department's Educational Topics web page at

More news and information can be found at the NewsWire.

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