The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – Happy Spring. I hope! March came in like a lion, and roared all month long. Perhaps April will be kinder and gentler for all. Several traditional springtime events are listed elsewhere in this newsletter, but you may be especially interested in Saturday, April 28, when both document shredding and drug disposal will be available at the Mason District Governmental Center. That means you have nearly a month to gather up old financial and other sensitive documents that you no longer need to keep, and prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are expired or you no longer need to take. The service hours of the two programs overlap; your most efficient time to dispose of both in one trip is from 10 a.m. until noon.
Public hearings about the proposed FY 2019 county budget will be held on Tuesday, April 10, beginning at 4 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday, April 11 and 12, beginning at 1 p.m. The hearings, which are televised live on cable Channel 16, are held at the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. To sign up to speak, contact the Clerk to the Board's office at 703-324-3151, TTY 703-324-3903, or sign up online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speakers-form.
Land use items of interest include:
- The Planning Commission has deferred decision on Vulcan's application for modernization and expansion of its facility in the Shirley Industrial Complex to Thursday, April 19. As a result, the public hearing before the Board of Supervisors has been deferred to Tuesday, May 1. In the meantime, discussions about potential adjustments and development conditions for the proposal continue.
- In the Falls Church area, the Graham Park Plaza proposal (formerly Loehmann's Plaza) to redevelop the western portion of the shopping center into mixed use residential and retail will be heard by the Planning Commission on Thursday, April 5, with a hearing before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 10.
- Lake Accotink Park is in the Braddock District, but the future of the lake is a concern for many. The lake is filling up with sediment, affecting watersports and other popular activities, and the Fairfax County Park Authority is conducting a master planning process to determine a number of options for the lake, from doing nothing to spending tens of millions of dollars, on a regular basis, to dredge and maintain the lake in its current configuration. Plan options and an online survey may be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/planning-development/lakeaccotink. Public comment at the above website will be taken until Monday, May 28. A subsequent public meeting is being planned for later in the spring.
- The Site-Specific Plan Amendment Process (SSPA) provides an opportunity to participate in Fairfax County's land use planning process to amend the Comprehensive Plan, which guides land use decisions. This year's nominations include locations in the Merrifield and Fairview Park areas in the Providence District, adjacent to Mason District. The Providence District SSPA Task Force, appointed by Supervisor Linda Smyth, is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, 10, and 17, at the Providence Community Center, located at 3001 Vaden Drive in Fairfax.
Wilson Boulevard over Arlington Boulevard Bridge Rehabilitation Project – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will host a Public Information Meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (formal presentation at 7 p.m.) at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, 3333 Sleepy Hollow Road in Falls Church, to present information and answer questions about their project to rehabilitate the one-way bridge linking the eastbound Route 50/Arlington Boulevard service road (crossing Route 7) to eastbound Wilson Boulevard in the Seven Corners area of Mason District. Advertisement for construction of the bridge is planned for fall 2018, and construction is anticipated to begin in March 2019, with completion in November 2019. For more information about the project, visit www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/wilson_over_50.asp, or call 703-259-3256.
Enhance Your Yard with Deer Tolerant Seedlings – The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is featuring a collection of trees and shrubs that are tolerant of deer browse. The Bare-Root Shrub and Small Tree package includes Witchhazel, False Indigobush, Serviceberry, Silky Dogwood, and Spicebush for $16.95. The Bare-Root Trees package includes Redbud, Pawpaw, and Shortleaf Pine for $11.95. Online payments by credit or debit card (if necessary, orders may be placed by phone and checks accepted). A full, non-refundable payment must accompany orders received by Wednesday, April 11, or while supplies last. For more information and to place orders, visit the Web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/native-seedling-sale, call 703-324-1460; TTY 711, or send an e-mail to Maria.Harwood@fairfaxcounty.gov.
Semi-Annual Book Sale Returns to George Mason Regional Library – The Friends of the George Mason Regional Library will co-host the popular, semi-annual book sale on Thursday, April 19, 3 - 9 p.m.; Friday, April 20, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and Sunday, April 22, 12 - 5 p.m. More than 50,000 books, movies, and music CDs are featured. The book sale will be at the library, 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. For more information, call 703-813-6616 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/branches/george-mason-regional.
Protect Your Identity: Shredding Sensitive Documents – The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program will host a Document Shredding event on Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Bring residential material of a sensitive nature, such as tax documents, medical and financial records, etc. Up to four medium-sized packing boxes per vehicle will be accepted. For more information and a complete list of scheduled shredding events, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/recycling-trash/document-shredding, or call 703-324-5230; TTY 711.
Spring Cleaning Includes Medicine Cabinets – Spring cleaning is not limited to your home, garage or shed. The DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Unused or expired prescription medicines may be dropped off at all Fairfax County Police Stations on Take Back Day. For more information and locations near you, visit the DEA Web site after April 1 at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.
Spring 2018 Culmore Cleanup – The spring 2018 Culmore Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 9 a.m. to Noon. Join your friends in cleaning the Culmore neighborhood. For more information, visit Culmore Cleanup Day on Facebook, www.facebook.com/culmorecleanupday. You also may contact Supervisor Gross' office at 703-256-7717, or e-mail: email@example.com.
Do You Enjoy Seafood and Want to Help a Worthy Cause? – The Annandale (Station 8) and Bailey's Crossroads (Station 10) Volunteer Fire Departments have got just the ticket for you! Come to their "All You Can Eat Crab Leg and Shrimp Feast" on Saturday, April 28, 2 - 5 p.m. at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department Station, 7128 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Tickets are available at www.avfd.org or www.bxrvfd.org. For more information, call 703-941-1328, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Annandale and Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Departments are non-profit 501c (3) organizations, and all donations are tax deductible. Donations may be mailed to: AVFD, P.O. Box 806, Annandale, VA 22003; or to the Bailey's Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 1159, Falls Church, VA 22041-3609.
Growing Vegetables is Possible in Small Spaces – Would you like a vegetable garden, but you have a small yard? Learn how to get around space constraints from master gardeners at Green Spring Gardens Park on Friday, April 20 at 1: 30 p.m. Green Spring Gardens Park is located at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria. For more information, call Green Spring Gardens at 703-642-5173, or visit the Web site at http://parktakes.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes/.
Construction Continues on Route 50 Pedestrian Initiative Improvements at Woodlawn Avenue and Wayne Road – Fairfax County, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Transportation, is reconfiguring the center median to restrict left turn access onto Route 50 from Woodlawn Avenue and Wayne Road. A high visibility pedestrian crosswalk on the east side of Route 50 and Woodlawn Avenue will connect to ADA accessible curb cut ramps, sidewalks, and bus stop pads. Active construction is scheduled Monday to Thursday, between 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., and Friday between 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the project is expected to be completed this fall. For questions about the Route 50 and Woodlawn Avenue/Wayne Road construction, send an e-mail to Sanjala.Bajracharya@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-324-3018.
Modular Mini Roundabout Coming to Ravensworth Road at Jayhawk Street – The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), will install a modular mini roundabout at the intersection of Ravensworth Road at Jayhawk Street this spring. The roundabout will provide improved safety for pedestrians, and operational improvements to move more vehicles through the intersection with fewer delays. Prior to installation, VDOT will place message boards to notify the public about the start of construction. Ravensworth Road will be open to traffic at all times, however, occasional delays may occur during construction, which is estimated to be completed within two to three weeks, weather permitting and barring any unforeseen delays. VDOT will maintain the roundabout after it is installed. For more information, log-on to www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/ravensworth_roundabout.asp, or call 703-259-2413.
Who to Contact about Downed Trees and Wires – If a tree falls, who should you call? Here's a list of contacts if you see a downed tree or wires:
1) Life Threatening
- If there's an immediate life-safety issue, call or text 9-1-1.
- If a tree falls onto your home:
- Get everyone safely out of your house. Use your cell phone or go to a neighbor's house and call 9-1-1.
- Stay away from the building until public safety employees can access your home for structural safety (as well as ensuring your utilities are OK or should be turned off.)
- Only after all of these safety measures should you then call your insurance company.
2) Power Lines
- Of course, NEVER touch a downed wire.
- Dominion Power: 1-866-366-4357 or online at www.dom.com/outage-center.
- NOVEC: 1-888-335-0500 or online at www.novec.com/stormcenter. (Serves some areas of Fairfax County, but currently not within Mason District).
- Call the Virginia Department of Transportation at 1-800-367-7623, TTY 711, or use VDOT's online reporting form at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov.
- Check out Fairfax County's online map of who maintains sidewalks at http://fairfaxcountygis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Viewer/index.html?appid=2b13377c6c4640449189df9d06f7ab83 to find out who's responsible to remove trees/tree limbs. Most sidewalks are VDOT's responsibility, so call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623), TTY 711, or use VDOT's online reporting form, https://my.vdot.virginia.gov.
5) Fairfax County Government/Parks/Schools
- County Government buildings: 703-324-2055, TTY 711
- Fairfax County Park Authority property: 703-324-8594, TTY 711 or report online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/tree-removal.
- Fairfax County Public Schools property: 703-764-2429, TTY 711
6) Private Property
- Removal is the property owner's responsibility. We suggest direct communication with your neighbor, then we recommend contacting a professional, licensed arborist to inspect the tree. The county has no authority in civil issues such as downed trees.
7) Posing Hazard to Public Areas
- Contact Fairfax County Urban Forestry at 703-324-1770, TTY 703-324-1877.
A final note: Beware of tree trimming scams that continue to plague our community. Fairfax County's Silver Shield Anti-Scam Campaign can help protect older adults in our community from financial scams. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/familyservices/older-adults/fairfax-county-silver-shield-anti-scam-campaign, and participate in the AARP and Fairfax County Scam Jam and Shred Event on Saturday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. Registration is required at aarp.cvent.com/OSSFairfax, or call 1-877-926-8300. Light refreshments and lunch will be served. Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request. For information, call Melissa Smarr by e-mail at Melissa.Smarr@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-324-1929; TTY 711.
Save the Date: May 7, 2018 for AARP Medicare 101 Seminar – Are you eligible to enroll in Medicare, but don't know where to start? On Monday, May 7, 2018, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, AARP, in collaboration with Supervisor Gross, will host an hour-long session that will provide information about the different parts of Medicare, coverage and costs, and Medicare plan choices. This session is a good overview for anyone interested in Medicare, and will provide resources and tools to learn more. Attendees are asked to RSVP to the following email address: Christine.Delta@fairfaxcounty.gov, or via phone at 703-333-5402.
Mason Matters! The Television Show – Fairfax County is recognized nationally as one of the safest jurisdictions in the country, and has an excellent law enforcement system that is noted for its high standards of service, abilities, and training. With a population of more than one million residents and a land mass of nearly 400 square miles, Fairfax County requires a lot of resources to maintain public safety. Police personnel work hard to ensure our safety, but who ensures that they have the means to carry out their duties? That's the role of the Resource Management Bureau (RMB). The April edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Major Ed O'Carroll and PFC Tyler Welch with the Fairfax County Police Department's RMB. 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 – I heard that Fairfax County recently recognized some local eateries for outstanding food safety practices. Can you tell me about this program? Yes. The Fairfax County Health Department introduced the 14 Carrot Gold Food Safety Excellence Award to recognize 10 local food service operations for maintaining outstanding food safety practices and employee education, going above and beyond food safety requirements. The department recently announced the 2017 winners, selected from the more than 3,400 permitted establishments inspected each year by environmental health specialists with the Health Department. Food service establishments can be nominated for the award by members of the food service industry, the public, or from health inspectors. To learn more, including the list of winners, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/ten-eateries-recognized-for-outstanding-food-safety-practices/.