The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – It's no secret that weather has been changing. The oppressive heat of earlier this summer has been replaced by another extreme – unending rain. Storms are more frequent and more intense. Helpful tips about how to navigate in this weather, and what to watch out for, are provided by Fairfax County.
The most important thing is to stay safe. Heavy rainstorms quickly can cause local streams to overtop their banks and cause flooding of roads, yards, and structures. If you live near a stream, even a small one, please be aware of the potential for flooding. Keep children and pets away from streams during rain events. Water can rise quickly, and move everything in its path.
"Turn around; don't drown" is a simple, but easy, motto during rain events. The depth of water across the roadway, especially at night, can be impossible to ascertain. It never is safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Gunning your car's engine to get through water on the road is very dangerous. The engine can die, even a small amount of water can lift the tires off the road, and moving water will float your vehicle, leaving you with no control. If you need to back up to avoid water, then back up, and turn around. Please don't be a statistic.
Wet soil and heavy wind gusts can cause trees to uproot and fall. If a tree hits your house, get everyone out safely, and use your cell phone, outside, to call 911 for assistance. Public safety employees can assess your home for structural damage and assure that utilities are controlled. Go to a neighbor's house, or a public facility, to stay dry and out of the elements. Then, you can call your insurance company.
Prepare for power outages. Keep your devices charged; having a charging cable in your vehicle can come in handy during lengthy outages. And keep your vehicle fueled. Gas pumps don't work during a power outage. If your power goes out, be sure to report the outage to your provider. Never assume your neighbor has reported the outage. Keep a flashlight or battery-powered lantern in your emergency kit for lighting. Never use candles.
Being prepared is the first step in dealing with a weather emergency. More information can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov, and you also can sign up for alerts on your cell phone or other device at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergencymanagement/.
Hurricane Season is in Effect: Are You Prepared? – The Atlantic hurricane season is in effect, with the peak season from mid-August to late October, through November 30, 2018. Update emergency plans, refresh supplies for your family and pets, and be ready if a tropical storm affects our region. The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is responsible for coordinating preparedness, response, and recovery efforts for significant emergency events that may occur in our community. For information, and to sign up for Fairfax Alerts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergencymanagement/, or call 571-350-1000.
Virginia Sales Tax Holiday Saves Money on Hurricane Preparedness and Back-to-School Items – The three-day sales tax holiday begins on Friday, August 3 at 12:01 a.m. and ends August 5, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Virginia residents can save money on essential supplies for hurricane season and year-round emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products. Also save on qualifying back-to-school items, such as school supplies, clothing, and footwear. For a complete list of sales tax exempt items during the holiday weekend, and detailed qualifying items and retailer information, visit https://tax.virginia.gov/virginia-sales-tax-holiday, and click on 2018 Combined Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines (https://tax.virginia.gov/sites/default/files/inline-files/2018-sales-tax-holiday-guidelines.pdf).
Neighbors Sign-Up for National Night Out on August 7 – Neighborhoods in Mason District, and Fairfax County at-large, have signed-up to participate in National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, from 6 – 9 p.m. National Night Out (NNO) is an annual event observed by locking doors, turning on porch lights, and enjoying a block party, cookout, or other planned community event. Mason District has more than 30 active Neighborhood Watch groups - the oldest is Camelot, established in 1979, in the Court of Camelot. Fairfax County Police officers will visit as many neighborhood activities as possible to support our community's commitment to fight crime. Contact the district police station in your area for more information about NNO events in your neighborhood: Mason Station, 703-256-8035; Franconia District Station, 703-922-0889; and West Springfield District Station, 703-644-7377. If you have not done so yet, sign up and participate in NNO 2018, by visiting https://form.jotform.com/jrsherburne/nno-registration.
Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter Hosts Second Annual National Night Out – The Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter Advisory Council, the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, and New Hope Housing invite you to celebrate National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the shelter, 3525 Moncure Avenue in Falls Church (Bailey's Crossroads). Meet area neighbors, local first responders, government officials, and shelter staff. Enjoy food, games, music, and learn more about the Bailey's Shelter and the new shelter and supportive housing facility. For more information, contact Jon Nerdig at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at 703-820-7621.
Four Fairfax County Park Authority RECenter Pools and Three Elevators to Close for Maintenance – RECenter passes are valid at all nine Park Authority RECenters, and pass holders are welcome to visit other non-impacted RECenters during maintenance cycles. RECenters will remain open during pool and elevator maintenance activities.
The pools and spas that will be affected are:
- Providence RECenter: Closes August 26 and reopens September 9
- South Run RECenter: Closes August 13 and reopens September 9
- Spring Hill RECenter: Closes August 27 and reopens September 23
- Mount Vernon RECenter: Closes August 24 and reopens September 4
Maintenance work also will be conducted on elevators at Providence RECenter from August 27 to October 25, at South Run RECenter from August 13 to October 12, and at Spring Hill RECenter from August 27 to October 26. Alternative routes will be identified at the Providence and Spring Hill RECenters. These dates are subject to change. Please check with the affected RECenters to confirm the reopening date before going to the facility. For more information, contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662 or at email@example.com.
FCDOT Celebrates First Bike and Walk to Worship Week – The Fairfax County Department of Transportation's Bicycle and Pedestrian team will be celebrating the county's first Bike and Walk to Worship week, beginning Monday, August 13 through Sunday, August 19, 2018, to promote biking and walking as viable modes of transportation. Local congregations of all faiths are invited to host events throughout the week. Information is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/bike-walk/worship, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/1627578067365324/, or call 703-877-5605.
Getting Around a Roundabout – Drivers on Ravensworth Road now have a new traffic pattern at the intersection of Jayhawk Street in Annandale. Construction of a new modular mini-roundabout, a pilot project with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), was completed in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Roundabouts can effectively control speed in residential neighborhoods. Here are some things to remember when driving through roundabouts:
- You must yield to the traffic already in the roundabout.
- Use your right-turn signal as you approach the exit you wish to use.
- Always yield to pedestrians who may be crossing the road on your approach to the roundabout.
- Pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists are often hard to see, so please watch for them.
For information about roundabouts in Virginia, visit www.virginiadot.org/info/faq-roundabouts.asp. Information about the Temporary Modular Mini Roundabout Pilot on Ravensworth Road at Jayhawk Street also is available at www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/ravensworth_roundabout.asp.
Land Use News – Land use items of interest include:
- At its Tuesday, July 31, 2018 meeting, the Board of Supervisors will consider proposed language for a Zoning Ordinance Amendment about how to, or not, regulate Short-Term Lodging (STLs) in residential areas. Public testimony about STLs was heard by the Board at its Tuesday, July 10 meeting.
- Northpoint Realty Partners, LLC has submitted an SE/PCA application to amend proffers and conditions associated with the approved I-4 zoning, and to permit an increase in FAR from 0.50 to 0.70 to permit a self-storage facility on a 6.04 acre property located at 6375 Bren Mar Drive. The applicant will present before the Mason District Land Use Committee on Tuesday, September 25.
- The Calvary Church of the Nazarene, located 8220 Little River Turnpike in Annandale, has submitted an SE application for an adult day care center. The facility is proposed to be located entirely within the church's existing structure and proposes no changes or additions to the exterior of the property. The Mason District Land Use Committee considered this application at its July 24 meeting.
Spotlight by Starlight Summer Concerts at Mason District Park and Ossian Hall Park – Enjoy the final weeks of free entertainment this summer at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. through August 24, 2018. Children's concerts are on Saturdays at 10 a.m. At Ossian Hall Park, located at 7900 Heritage Drive in Annandale, cultural performances are featured on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through August 18, 2018. For a complete summer concert schedule, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances/spotlight-by-starlight. Note: Concerts are cancelled in the event of inclement weather. Call 703-324-SHOW (7469) one hour prior to the performance for weather-related updates.
Mark Your Calendar for the 33rd Annual Begonia Show and Sale – Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria, welcomes the Potomac branch of the American Begonia Society, sponsors of this annual event, on Saturday, August 25, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Sunday, August 26, 2018, from Noon to 3:30 p.m. The sale offers a wide variety of begonias, including subtropical species. Admission is free. Call 703-642-5173 for more information about this or other upcoming events, or visit the website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/green-spring.
Save the Date: Capitol Steps at Mason District Park – The very popular Capitol Steps free concert, originally scheduled for Sunday, July 22, 2018 at the Mason District Park amphitheatre was cancelled because of weather. A new, special date, has been arranged for the Capitol Steps to perform this fall. Plan to attend the rescheduled free concert on Friday, September 7, at 7:30 p.m., at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale.
Watercolors and Pencil Drawings Featured at Mason District Governmental Center – This month, the Art featured in the Mason District Governmental Center is a collection of watercolors by Springfield Art Guild member Amy Browning, whose rendering of water, ranging from huge crashing waves to droplets of dew, provides a refreshing respite from summer heat. Also on display is a collection of portrait drawings by students in an Inmate Re-entry Program at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. Under the volunteer instruction of Kelli Schollard-Sincock, who developed her art curriculum under the name "Inspiration Matterz" in 2017, students worked from provided photographs, and used a step-by-step pencil drawing process with a gridding system to teach the basics of observation and interpretation. The Mason District Governmental Center is located at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, and the art is on display in the lobby until Sunday, August 26, 2018.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – Everyday, most of us pass by storm drains that are essential for transferring water off our streets, and directing it back into nearby streams and rivers. As stormwater challenges continue to mount, prompting calls for new policies, more awareness, and intensely dedicated stewardship, it has become a key issue affecting Chesapeake Bay localities, as they work to protect the Bay, and other natural resources. The August edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Craig Carinci, director of the Stormwater Planning Division of the Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, and Laura Grape, executive director of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. 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.
Mason News and Updates – To receive news and updates about Fairfax County services and events in Mason District, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 - I have some solid waste materials that I would like to dispose of, but I don't know where to put it or take it. Can Fairfax County help? Yes. However, please note: materials you can set out on the street may vary by who collects it, or type of residence. Visit the Fairfax County website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/recycling-and-trash to learn about recycling and trash collection in Fairfax County, including an index of residential materials and where to put or take them. If you are a Fairfax County collection customer, visit the County Collection Customers page, or call 703-802-3322; TTY 711. If you have a private collector, contact the company's customer service section for instructions. If you're still not sure who provides your trash service, call 703-802-3322; TTY 711 for assistance. Remember, you always can self-haul your trash, using your own vehicle, to a county facility.