The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – The shortest month is a bit longer this year, with Leap Day on Saturday, February 29. The extra day will be useful, including the last day to vote absentee in person for the presidential primary in Virginia. Of course, you may cast your ballot in the primary at your regular polling place on March 3. There is information in this newsletter about voter registration, absentee voting times and locations, and becoming an election officer. Whether a presidential primary or not, election officers always are needed, especially those with multiple language capabilities.
February also signals budget time in Fairfax County. The County Executive will present his proposed Fiscal Year 2021 county budget to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, February 25. The Board then will have about two months to examine the recommendations and make changes, before adopting a revised budget on May 5. The Mason District Budget Town Meeting will be held on Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. More information, and links to the proposed budget, will be included in the March edition of this e-newsletter.
Looking forward, Census Day is April 1, and that's no joke! The decennial census, required in Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, helps determine funding allocations for critical services and programs we rely on every day. The 2020 Census also will determine the number of seats Virginia (and other states) will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, for the next 10 years. April 1 is your chance to shape not only your future, but everyone's future as well, all the way to 2030. In March, you will receive a postcard in the mail from the U.S. Census Bureau, with information and directions. Complete the simple questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail. It will take only a few minutes, but is vitally important to all, locally, regionally, statewide, and nationally.
As always, if you or your neighbors have questions or concerns about any county-related matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office. My staff and I are here to serve you and all Mason District constituents.
- The Virginia Department of Transportation proposes to resurface several roads in the Mason District, and implement striping modifications (where feasible) to improve road safety, provide pedestrian crossings, add parking lanes, and install bike lanes. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation, in collaboration with VDOT, will host a public information meeting on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., in the Large Conference Room of the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring and completed in early December 2020. Learn about bike lanes and whether your road is on VDOT's proposed list for paving in 2020!
- The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) Maintenance and Stormwater Management (MSMD) staff completed a storm drainage improvement project on Kaywood Place to address public safety concerns, mitigate potential flooding, and improve the performance of the storm sewer infrastructure. A 350 linear foot polypropylene pipe installation and an overland relief swale were constructed to connect to the existing storm sewer system. The two systems now split and share the runoff from storm events for the 21-acre watershed. DPWES MSMD staff also completed an outfall restoration project on Robey Avenue using rip rap lined step pools and riffle sections constructed with stream bed mix to address public safety concerns and enhance water quality. The deeply eroded channel banks were stabilized with coir matting and native vegetation. The work site was restored using native plants, trees, and shrubs to promote reforestation.
- Chick Fil-A approved in Annandale. At its January 14 meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved a Special Exception Application for a Chick Fil-A on Little River Turnpike, west of John Marr Drive, in downtown Annandale. The new facility will include seated dining, a drive-through, outdoor seating and landscaping. Construction is anticipated to begin later this year, with store opening in late 2021.
Is Your Voter Registration Current? – The Democratic Presidential Primary Election is on March 3, 2020, and voters can confirm their registration is current by checking the Virginia Department of Elections website at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. To vote in the March 3, 2020 primary, the last day to register or update voter information is Monday, February 10, and it can be done online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/voter-registration. For additional information about the upcoming election, contact the Office of Elections by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 703-222-0776, or visit the website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/upcoming.
Absentee Voting for Democratic Presidential Primary Election on March 3, 2020 – In-person absentee voting is open for Super Tuesday at the Fairfax County Government Center in Conference Rooms 2/3, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. Voting hours are:
- Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Thursdays: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In-person absentee voting also will open at 12 satellite locations, including the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, beginning Saturday, February 22 through Saturday February 29, 2020. (No voting on Sunday, February 23.)
- Voting hours for all satellite locations will be posted on February 18, 2020 at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee.
- For hours at the Mason District Governmental Center, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee-locations/mason-governmental-center.
All locations will be closed Sundays and on Monday, February 17, in observance of Presidents' Day. The last day to absentee vote is Saturday, February 29, 2020. Please Note: Because the Republican Party chose to select delegates to their national convention at a state convention, there are no Republican candidates on the March 3 ballot.
Native Seedlings Spruce Up Landscapes and Improve Our Environment – The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District will begin accepting orders through its Annual Native Seedling Sale on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. Residents benefit from this low-cost source of native trees and shrubs, and proceeds help to support the stewardship and engagement programs offered by NVSWCD that support Fairfax County's Environment Vision. For more information and to place an order, visit the NVSWCD website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/native-seedling-sale, call 703-324-1460, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Neighborhood Watch Training – The Fairfax County Police Department is hosting a Neighborhood Watch Training Session on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 6 p.m. at the Mason District Station, located at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. This is a great opportunity for residents to get more involved in adding security in their neighborhoods. Interested residents may attend this class and not become a Neighborhood Watch member. However, residents interested in becoming Neighborhood Watch members must attend this class. For more information, contact MPO Eddy Azcarate or MPO Mike Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-354-5889.
February 2020 Winter Leadership Series for Civic and HOA Leaders Features Fairfax County Division of Solid Waste and Recycling – Supervisor Gross' Winter Leadership Series continues as follows:
- Saturday, February 8, 2020 – Supervisor Penny Gross welcomes staff from the Fairfax County Division of Solid Waste and Recycling, who will discuss recycling and glass collection.
- Saturday, March 14, 2020 – Fairfax County Zoning Administration's Planning and Development Division, and the Department of Code Compliance, to discuss enforcement, the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project (zMOD), and the Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) Process.
The meetings will be held at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, from 10 a.m. to noon. If you can't make one of the meetings, please invite another member of your board. Reserve your seat by e-mail to email@example.com, or call 703-256-7717. Please note that topics and presenters may be subject to change because of staff availability.
Stuff the Bus Program Comes to Annandale – During winter months, community food pantries' supplies run low and the demand increases for non-perishable food to assist individuals and families in need. On Saturday, February 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the "Stuff the Bus" program will be at the Annandale Giant, 7137 Columbia Pike, and will benefit the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA). Fairfax County is hosting several "Stuff the Bus" events at local grocery stores each week through February 15, 2020. Each week, a Fastran bus will park at a different location and collect food donations from shoppers. For more information about the "Stuff the Bus" program and a list of donation sites, collection dates, and times, call 703-222-9764; TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/neighborhood-community-services/stuff-the-bus. "Stuff the Bus" is a food pantry giving program that partners with nonprofit organizations, grocery stores, and MV Transportation.
Tax Preparation Available in Mason District – AARP volunteers are providing free tax assistance to residents of all ages beginning Thursday, January 30 through Wednesday, April 15, 2020 (federal tax returns), at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Although there is no age requirement, or income threshold, the focus is on residents with low to moderate incomes. File Virginia taxes before the deadline on Friday, May 1, 2020. AARP volunteers will provide walk-in service on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. (No Tax-Aide service on President's Day, Monday, February 17, 2020.) Please Note: A limited number of Mason Tax-Aide appointments will be available on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 a.m. To schedule an appointment, please call 571-281-8532. You will receive a return call (within two working days) to confirm your appointment. All returns are filed electronically. Bring tax documents with a photo ID, all Social Security cards, and (if possible) last year's tax return. For more information about AARP Tax-Aide, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide, or call 1-888-227-7669.
Child Safety Seat Inspection – The Fairfax County Police Department is hosting a Child Car Seat Inspection on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Mason District Station, located at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. The child car seats are inspected on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 9 a.m., and the last child car seat inspection will begin at 11:30 a.m. Everyone who wishes to have a child car seat inspected must come into the building to receive a number. The number of child car seat inspections will be based on the number of available inspectors that day. For more information, contact the Mason District Station at 703-256-8035, press zero for the front desk.
Save the Week: National Consumer Protection Week – The Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services, Consumer Affairs Branch, will be celebrating National Consumer Protection Week from March 1 - 7, 2020. National Consumer Protection Week is a national celebration of federal, state, and local agencies and organizations that provide consumer education and resources throughout the year. The Consumer Affairs Branch will host consumer education booths, presentations, and workshops during the week. In addition, the Virginia Department of Treasury Unclaimed Property Division will offer consumers an opportunity to check for unclaimed stocks, bonds, utility deposits, and more. The Consumer Affairs Branch is committed to ensuring that Fairfax County consumers have the tools and resources to understand their consumer rights and to make informed decisions. Upcoming events will be highlighted on the Consumer Affairs website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cableconsumer/csd/consumer/ncpw2020.
Sustainable Landscape Solutions for HOAs and Condo Associations – Participate in Plant NOVA Natives' HOA and Condo Association Workshop at the Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus, on Friday, March 6, 2020, and learn about innovative sustainable landscape practices, conservation of native plants and wildlife, and design. Speakers also will address legal aspects of HOA governance. Land management and conservation experts will provide information and answer questions. Register at www.plantnovanatives.org/symposiums-for-hoa-and-condo-assoc-. Questions? Contact Plant NOVA Natives by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-244-9174. Plant NOVA Natives is a collaborative effort by more than 100 organizations, including government entities, such as the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Fairfax County Park Authority, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, and others. For more information, visit the Plant NOVA Natives' website at www.plantnovanatives.org.
Fairfax County Animal Shelter Hosts Low-Cost Rabies Clinic for Pets – The Fairfax County Animal Shelter will host a low-cost rabies clinic on Sunday, March 8, 2020 from 12 - 2 p.m., for dogs, cats and ferrets, at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. All dogs must be on leashes, and cats and ferrets must be in carriers. The vaccination cost is $15 per pet for a one-year rabies vaccination. To obtain a three-year vaccine, please bring your pet's rabies certificate (not tag) showing the current rabies vaccination expiration date. Fairfax County 2020 dog licenses will be sold separately for an additional cost of $10 per license. Cash and checks only will be accepted for payment at the clinic. Questions? Contact the Animal Shelter by e-mail at email@example.com, call 703-830-1100, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/. A complete list of low-cost rabies clinics scheduled throughout Fairfax County is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/communityassistance/rabiesclinics.
Save the Date: Mason District Budget Town Meeting – Supervisor Gross invites you to participate in Mason District's Budget Town Meeting on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. County Executive Bryan Hill and Chief Financial Officer Joe Mondoro will present the budget, followed by a question and answer period.
Save the Date: Senior Citizen Tax Relief 2020 Workshops Coming to Mason District – Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, in collaboration with the Department of Tax Administration (DTA), is hosting free tax relief workshops on Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon both days, at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. DTA staff will be on-site to assist residents with completing the 2020 Tax Relief application form and answer questions. No appointment is necessary. Bring your 2019 tax returns or proof of 2019 gross income from all sources, and all asset information as of December 31, 2019. Real estate tax relief is available for older adults and people with disabilities who meet certain qualifications. Qualified residents also may be eligible for car tax and rent relief. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes/, or call 703-222-8234; TTY 703-222-7594.
VDOT is Ready for Snow – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Northern Virginia District, is ready for snow with plow-tracking technology, and online resources for residents to use. VDOT has budgeted $53.4 million for snow removal, and has 120,000 tons of salt, 25,000 tons of sand, and 250,000 gallons of brine for road treatments. VDOT also has 3,500 pieces of equipment (mostly contracted) available for snow removal.
Highlights for Snow Season in 2020
- One stop 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.
- @vadotnova on Twitter;
- 511virginia.org for road conditions (local/statewide) and traffic cameras;
- vdotplows.org for neighborhood plow status and locations once two inches of snow have accumulated;
- my.vdot.virginia.gov or 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) to report road hazards/road maintenance;
- www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp for winter travel information;
- www.weather.gov/washington/winter for National Weather Service and Iteris forecast reviews;
- VDOT Answers: How to Properly Shovel Your Driveway (YouTube Video); and
- VDOT Answers: The Top 5 Snow Removal Questions.
Fairfax County's Hypothermia Prevention Program is in Effect – The Bailey's Shelter and Supportive Housing's (BSSH) Hypothermia Prevention Program is in progress through March 31, 2020. If you or someone you know needs shelter, please call BSSH at 703-820-7621. If you see someone who may need shelter, call the Fairfax County Police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131. An officer will conduct a wellness check and, if the person agrees, will transport the person to the nearest shelter. If you see someone at risk of hypothermia, call 911. The program welcomes donations, including new and gently used winter clothing, hot meals, and breakfast bags. The program also welcomes Day Programming Volunteers to assist during weekday mornings/afternoons with financial skills classes, employment readiness workshops, and board game activities. To learn what is needed most, make a donation, and to volunteer your time, contact Leo Patrician at 703-578–8852 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the county's Hypothermia Program is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/hypothermia-prevention-program, or call 703-324-9492.
Artwork by Children and Adults Featured at Mason District Governmental Center – The works of students from Sleepy Hollow Art, a small studio offering art classes in Annandale, are featured at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Operated by artist Rita McCarn, the studio offers classes in pencil, charcoal, pastel, acrylic, watercolor, and mixed media. Artworks featured include landscapes painted in Maryland and Virginia. McCarn taught in the Fairfax County Public Schools and Holmes Run Montessori School, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a Masters degree in Art Education from George Mason University. The artwork is on display through Thursday, February 27, 2020.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – No matter how you slice it, our Environment is vital, and maintaining a quality environment is complex. Our society often relies on things being convenient and abundant, but now, more than ever, government, business, and residents have been moving toward sustainability to preserve our resources. In Fairfax County, we have made a lot of progress by being proactive and diligent about implementing programs, initiatives, and environment policies to attain a quality environment that is sustainable, while offering a high quality of life to residents. The county has directed sustainability initiatives into land use, transportation, water, waste management, parks and ecological resources, climate and energy, and environmental stewardship. The Board of Supervisors recently created the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, along with a new Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan. The February edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Kambiz Agazi, Director, and Jessica Lavender, Senior Energy Analyst, Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination. 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 – Are Election Officers needed for the March 3 Democratic Presidential Primary? Yes. Fairfax County needs 2,100 election officers for the March 3 Democratic Presidential Primary Election. Fairfax County is the largest voting jurisdiction in Virginia with 243 precincts. It takes thousands of enthusiastic and trained election officers to ensure that we have efficient and well-run elections. Compensation begins at $175, although officers also may volunteer their time. The Office of Elections also is seeking bilingual officers who speak Korean or Vietnamese. For more information about becoming an election officer, visit the Fairfax County Office of Elections website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/officers/new-officers, or call the Office of Elections at 703-324-4735; TTY 711.