The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – It's August already. Vacation time. Preparation for school time. Taking it easy time to recharge your personal "batteries." The last weeks of the free summer concerts in the parks. Except for this year!
Popular vacation spots are closed or substantially reduced to facilitate social distancing. Most schools are switching to distance learning, so those new clothes for the first day of school won't be necessary. All the concerts were cancelled because of COVID-19, but you can catch some favorite performers live and virtual by logging on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances
As vice-chairman of the Board of Supervisors, I recently had the pleasure of greeting Governor Ralph Northam at an early learning event in the county. Referring to the control of COVID-19 cases, the Governor told me that "you must be doing something right up here." Of course, he meant wearing proper face coverings, social distancing, and good hand hygiene. These are easy actions we all can take to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Wear a mask when outside of your home, practice social distancing (and gently remind those who may not, as in the checkout line), and wash your hands frequently.
Connected and Autonomous Electric Vehicles (CAVs) have been tested in restricted locations, such military bases, but the first state-funded CAV is coming to the Mosaic District, a popular live/work/shop/dine area in Fairfax. A route was approved, and the last of the required infrastructure was completed, along with route signage. The driverless vehicle, which resembles a boxy little blue trolley, is named RELAY. The vehicle manufacturer, EasyMile, and the contract operator,Transdev, commenced testing this week. The route will run from the Dunn Loring Metrorail Station, down Eskridge/Merrilee through the Mosaic District, with a stop near the Barnes and Noble retail store. After the testing stage is completed, passenger service is anticipated to begin this fall. Information about the pilot program can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/Autonomous-Shuttle-Pilot. The pilot program is a joint effort between the Fairfax County Department of Economic Incentives, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Dominion Energy, and Edens, the developer of the Mosaic District.
Enjoy the rest of the summer, and keep wearing your mask. Working together, we can defeat COVID-19!!
Park Authority Features Virtual Livestreaming Summer Entertainment Series –The Fairfax County Park Authority is featuring virtual livestreaming concerts for each magisterial district beginning July 30 through the end of August. The in-person Summer Entertainment Series hosted by the Fairfax County Park Authority and Park Foundation, which includes the Spotlight by Starlight Summer Concerts at Mason District Park and Ossian Hall Park, was cancelled because of public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual concerts will be held Thursday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m., and children's shows will be held on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. For more information, and a schedule of virtual livestreaming events, visit the Park Authority website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances contact the Public Information Office by e-mail at email@example.com, or call 703-324-8700.
Land Use News –Land use items of interest include:
- The SSPA Task Forces resumed their meeting schedule electronically, and the Mason District South County Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) Task Force will meet on Wednesday, August 5, and Wednesday, August 19, 2020, beginning at 7 p.m., respectively. A third meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 7 p.m. The SSPA website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/plan-amendments/sspa/south/track-nomination has information about the nominations. The meetings will be held through a WebEx video conferencing platform. The public may participate in the WebEx meetings by registering through the video conference link or an audio-only phone line (TTY 711) with the event code provided with the Task Force meeting information. To request a training on the platform, please send an e-mail at least one week prior to the meeting you wish to attend. For more information about how to get setup with WebEx, please view the WebEx Attendee Guide. Information about the SSPA process is available at the South County SSPA website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/plan-amendments/sspa/south, or contact the Planning Division of the Department of Planning and Development at 703-324-1380; TTY 711.
- The Board of Supervisors authorized advertisement of a public hearing on Tuesday, September 15 at 4 p.m., to consider adopting an ordinance to establish an Economic Incentive Program (EIP) that would apply to five Commercial Revitalization Districts (Annandale, Bailey's Crossroads/Seven Corners, McLean, Richmond Highway, and Springfield) and one Commercial Revitalization Area (Lincolnia) in Fairfax County. During the public hearing, consideration will be given about amending Chapter 4, Taxation and Finance, of the Fairfax County Code to establish a new Article 29 – Incentives to Encourage Economic Growth, which would offer regulatory incentives to private sector developers, who assemble and develop properties in accordance with the ordinance, and consistent with the vision of the Comprehensive Plan.
Fairfax County Parkway and Franconia-Springfield Parkway Comprehensive Plan – The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is hosting a third online community meeting on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, from 7 - 9 p.m. to present and solicit public comment about its Preliminary Recommendations for the Fairfax County Parkway, and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway Alternatives Analysis and Long-Term Planning Study. Participants must register with WebEx prior to the meeting. To facilitate the online meeting experience, FCDOT has a step-by-step process (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/virtual-community-meeting) for registration, logging in, and meeting participation. A question and answer session follows the study team's presentation. Public comment also will be collected via an online survey that will be available through Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. FCDOT will present the final recommendations to the Board of Supervisors this winter. For more information, visit the Study webpage at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/study/fairfax-county-parkway. These major transportation routes are used by Mason District residents.
Know the Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness – Summer 2020 is one of the hottest in the mid-Atlantic region, and the National Weather Service (NWS) urge the public to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The NWS website includes Heat Safety Tips and Resources at www.weather.gov/safety/heat-illness Information about how to respond during a heatwave is available at www.weather.gov/safety/heat-during. For outreach materials in Spanish, visit www.weather.gov/safety/heat-espanol-calor. If you see someone who may be experiencing a heat-related illness, call 911.
Get Your List Ready for Virginia's 2020 Sales Tax Holiday – Beginning Friday, August 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. until Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., consumers can purchase qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star® and WaterSense® products without paying sales tax. For more information, including a list of qualifying items, visit www.tax.virginia.gov/virginia-sales-tax-holiday.
Child Car Seat Inspections Return - The Fairfax County Police Department is hosting a Child Car Seat Inspection on Saturday, August 22, 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. 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. Please wear face coverings and maintain social distancing (6 ft.) during the child car seat inspection.
FCDOT Welcomes Public Comment for Little River Turnpike Walkway Project's HAWK Signal – The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) plans to conduct three In-Person Community Outreach pop-up sessions in early September to solicit public comment about a proposed HAWK (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK) signal to improve pedestrian safety when crossing Little River Turnpike at Conwell Drive. The HAWK signal, when activated, would stop traffic on Little River Turnpike to allow pedestrians to cross the street, and it is included in a sidewalk project along westbound Little River Turnpike, between High Place and Pinecrest Parkway. FCDOT staff will be at the intersection of Little River Turnpike at Conwell Drive, near the bus stop, at the following times to answer questions about the project:
- Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 8 to 11 a.m.;
- Thursday, September 10, 2020, 4 to 7 p.m.; and
- Monday, September 14, 2020, 4 to 7 p.m.
Social distancing procedures will be in effect to ensure the safety of the project team and the public. The events may be cancelled in case of inclement weather. Visit the FCDOT website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/projects/little-river-turnpike-conwell-drive-walkway for additional project information. Questions? Contact Shahla Zahirieh, project manager at Shahla.Zahirieh@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-877-5730.
Board of Supervisors to Consider Removal of Judicial Complex Civil War Monuments – On July 14, 2020, the Board of Supervisors authorized the advertisement of a public hearing to be held on Tuesday,September 15, 2020 at 4:30 p.m., to consider the "Removal, Relocation, Contextualization, or Covering of Publicly-Owned Civil War Related Monuments or Memorials at the Fairfax County Judicial Complex (Providence District)." Individuals or spokespersons for groups who wish to testify must register by signing up online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speakers-form or by calling the Department of Clerk Services at 703-324-3151, TTY 711. Information about the virtual ways to testify can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/clerkservices/ways-provide-public-hearing-testimony.
Preparations Begin for Waterway Drive Sewer Rehabilitation Project – Barring any unforeseen delays, the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Wastewater Design and Construction Division, will begin the rehabilitation of 700 ft. of sanitary sewer pipe and manholes (access points) under Waterway Drive. The project consists of replacing the existing liner, and spot repairs to the host pipe before the new liner is installed. Work will be done through the manholes to reduce disturbance to the community. Construction also will include bypass pumping and piping for internal sewer repairs. Travel in the eastbound lane of Waterway Drive will be restricted to local access only between Half Moon Circle and Cavalier Corridor. Other temporary traffic detours also will be in effect for the project. Access to residents' homes will be maintained. Barring any unforeseen delays, construction duration is anticipated to be four months. Additional information is available on the project website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/capital-projects/waterway-drive-sanitary-sewer-project. For questions and to receive project updates by e-mail, send an e-mail to the project manager, Thomas.Grala@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-324-5815.
Farmer's Market at Mason District Park is Open - The Fairfax County Park Authority is taking a cautious approach to opening its Farmer's Markets by providing shopping guidelines and offering a list of all the vendors, who participate in our markets, and who take pre-orders through their websites. The Farmer's Market at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale, is open every Thursday, 8 a.m. to Noon, until November 5, 2020. For a complete schedule, updates, and other information, visit the Park Authority website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/farmersmarkets/, or call 703-642-0128; TTY 703-803-3354.
Election Officers Needed for the November 2020 General Election – The Fairfax County Office of Elections needs election officers to assist voters on Election Day, Tuesday November 3, 2020. New election officer training classes will begin online in September for the November General Election. Fairfax County is the largest voting jurisdiction in Virginia with 243 precincts countywide. Compensation begins at $175. If you are a registered Virginia voter, consider applying today! Bilingual Vietnamese and Korean speakers are needed in Annandale, Centreville, and Falls Church. To apply, visit https://www.vote4fairfax.com/apply/ by Tuesday, September 15, 2020 to ensure the best chance of a precinct assignment for the November 3, 2020 General Election. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/officers/new-officers, send an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-324-4735.
Prepare for the General Election on November 3, 2020 – Residents can register to vote, update current Virginia voter registration, and apply to vote absentee by mail at the Virginia Department of Elections website at https://Vote.Elections.Virginia.Gov The website also enables voters to view polling places, election districts, check on absentee ballot status, and access their voting histories.
Key Dates to Remember:
- September 18: First absentee ballot mailout (when absentee ballot application is received);
- September 18: Early voting/absentee in-person voting begins at the Office of Elections, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax, Virginia. Note: In-person absentee voting satellite locations and hours to be announced by the Office of Elections.;
- October 13: Voter Registration Deadline (In-Person/By Mail) 5 p.m.; online: 11:59 p.m.;
- October 23: Deadline to apply to receive an Absentee Ballot by mail, fax, and online: 5 p.m.;
- October 31: Final day to vote absentee early/in-person, 5 p.m.; and
- November 6: Deadline to return your absentee ballot to the Office of Elections: 12 noon. Ballot must be postmarked by November 3, 2020. Hand-delivered ballots will NOT be accepted.
For voter forms (voter registration applications, absentee ballot applications, voter rights/complaints process) in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/voter-forms. To apply online for a Virginia absentee ballot, visit the Virginia State Board of Elections website at https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. Additional information about absentee voting is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee and www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/. Questions? Send an e-mail to the Office of Elections at email@example.com, or call 703-222-0776, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. On Election Day, polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
National Night Out Rescheduled for Fall – An August tradition moves to the fall. National Night Out is planned for Tuesday, October 6, 2020 between 6 – 9 p.m. The season is different, but the goal is the same, keep crime out of our neighborhoods! It will be an opportunity to enjoy a socially distanced, planned neighborhood event. Heighten your awareness about how to keep crime out of our neighborhoods. Register your community event with the Fairfax County Police Department at https://form.jotform.com/jrsherburne/nno-2020-registration Only one person from each community needs to complete the form. Please note that if you register your NNO event with the National Registry, the Fairfax County Police Department does not have access to the National Registry. For more information, and to invite Fairfax County Police officers to your event, contact your district police station: Mason Station, 703-256-8035; Franconia District Station, 703-922-0889; and West Springfield District Station, 703-644-7377.
Mason E-Newsletter and Updates – To receive the monthly E-Newsletter and periodic 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.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – Many popular television shows focus on our legal system, especially the prosecution of crimes. It is only on TV, however, that a crime is solved and prosecuted in an hour. The reality of criminal prosecution is much longer, and involves dozens of people committed to the rule of law. Virginia's Constitution contains this important element - "There shall be elected by the qualified voters of each county and city a treasurer, a sheriff, an attorney for the Commonwealth, a clerk, who shall be clerk of the court in the office of which deeds are recorded, and a commissioner of revenue." The Commonwealth's Attorney is the highest law enforcement official in his or her jurisdiction. Virginia and Kentucky use the term Commonwealth's Attorney, while others use District Attorney or State's Attorney. Regardless of the name, the function is the same – to prosecute individuals who commit felony crimes. 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 Fairfax Commonwealth Attorney Steve T. Descano. 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 – Can Fairfax County help me with tick prevention tips this summer? Yes. Fairfax County offers information about tick prevention, identification, and more, with its "Your Field Guide to Battle Ticks," at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/your-field-guide-to-battle-ticks/.