The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny -If it's August, it's time for National Night Out! The annual event, cancelled last year because of the pandemic, is on again, scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, 2021 . National Night Out (NNO) truly is a national event, as communities across the nation assemble, in various ways, to "take a bite out of crime." Mason District has one of the oldest NNO events – the Camelot potluck is renowned for its diverse menu, children's games, and plain old-fashioned fun. During the pandemic, Camelot opted for street corner gatherings (socially distanced) as public safety participants, and this Supervisor, did a drive-thru version of NNO.
Local observances can be as simple as turning on the porchlight, to ice cream socials and elaborate picnics. The important thing is to get to know your neighbors and demonstrate to criminals that your neighborhood cares, and residents are watching out for each other.
Fairfax County is one of the safest jurisdictions of its size in the country, but this summer's rash of vehicle break-ins and attempted break-ins reminds us that we are not immune to crime. If your street or neighborhood has a NNO observance, go join the fun. If not, turn on your porch light, at least. Lastly, lock your vehicles, lock your doors, and call the non-emergency number, 703-691-2131, if you are victimized. Taking a bite out of crime is up to all of us!
Land Use News – Land use items of interest include:
- The Planning Commission approved the Fairfax Water Sleepy Hollow Road Pump Station project on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, and the proposal now advances to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) for consideration on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. The proposed pump station would be located at 2959 Sleepy Hollow Road in Falls Church, and would improve water pressure, fire flow and resiliency throughout the Seven Corners area. Residents who wish to testify before the BOS may register online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speakers-form , or sign-up by calling 703-324-3151; TTY 711, no later than 12 p.m. the day of the hearing. Video testimony must be submitted no later than 9 a.m. the day prior to the public hearing. Written testimony may be sent by first-class mail to: Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 552, Fairfax, 22035, or by e-mail at ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov .
- On July 27, the Board of Supervisors authorized advertisement of a public hearing for Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. about the acquisition of certain land rights necessary to keep the Sleepy Hollow Road Sidewalk Project on schedule. The project consists of building 4,789 linear feet of concrete sidewalk to provide a continuous pedestrian walkway along Sleepy Hollow Road, between Columbia Pike and Leesburg Pike. The project also includes upgraded CG-12 curb ramps, new curb and gutter, a retaining wall, and would address drainage concerns within the project limits.
- Fairfax County's modernized Zoning Ordinance is accessible through the new online platform enCodePlus ( https://online.encodeplus.com/regs/fairfaxcounty-va/index.aspx ). The enCodePlus platform is accessible on cell phones, tablets, and computers, and uses tables, graphics, hoverbox definitions, and hyperlinks to help customers navigate and understand the county's zoning regulations that went into effect on July 1, 2021 .
Hidden Oaks Nature Center Addition Breaks Ground – The Fairfax County Park Authority will break ground in August for the Hidden Oaks Nature Center Addition at Annandale Park, located at 7701 Royce Street in Annandale. The project entails an addition and renovations to the existing building, which will include new offices, a new multi-purpose room, accessible restrooms, additional exhibition area, and improved stroller parking. The $1.2 million project is anticipated to be completed mid-summer 2022. Nearby residents should expect to see construction traffic on Royce Street to access and deliver materials to Hidden Oaks Nature Center, possible temporary closures of the parking lot and Nature Playce, and closure of the building for several months in early 2022. Questions? Contact Valerie Maislin, project manager, by e-mail at Valerie.Maislin@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call 703-324-8627.
Meeting Rooms Re-Open at the Mason District Governmental Center – The public meeting rooms at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, will re-open for use on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 . Groups with 50 attendees or less may submit the room reservation form beginning Monday, August 2, 2021, for space they wish to reserve for the remainder of 2021. A new form must be submitted even if a form had already been approved earlier in 2021. Please Note: Applications for room reservations for 2022, will be accepted beginning Friday, October 1, 2021 . The maximum group size will be restored to 100 attendees in 2022. Please Note: Rooms are reserved on a first-come basis. Groups can reserve up to one four-hour meeting per month. One form must be submitted for each calendar year. Questions? Call 703-256-7717 or send an e-mail to email@example.com .
Get Ready for National Night Out! – National Night Out (NNO) is scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, 2021 , and the Fairfax County Police Department strongly supports NNO as an opportunity to improve police and community communication. Whether it is an ice cream social, or an all-out festival, NNO is an opportunity to gather with your neighbors, get better acquainted, and talk about issues of common concern. If you haven't done so already, register your community's event at https://form.jotform.com/FCPD/nno-2021-registration . Please Note: If you register using a different link, FCPD will NOT receive notice of your event!
Emergency Health Profile Facilitates First Responders' Dispatched to Calls for Service – The Fairfax County's Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) team introduced a new 911 feature that will assist first responders when called for service by residents during an emergency. Residents can create a new Emergency Health Profile that would provide real-time health, medical, emergency contact, and background information to first responders before they arrive to an emergency call for service. The new Emergency Health Profiles creates an additional safety net for older adults and people with disabilities when they call 9-1-1 during an emergency or crisis, as vital health and medical information is made available to the DPSC staff and dispatched to first responders. The information is associated with an individual's mobile phone number and only available when an emergency call is received from the telephone number provided. The amount of information provided is at individuals' discretion, and updated profiles are vital, especially after major health or life changes. For more information and to create an Emergency Health Profile, visit www.emergencyprofile.org/ . Questions? Visit the DPSC website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/911/contacts .
Fairfax County Announces $18.7 Million Available for Affordable Housing – The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) announced $18.7 million availability in local, state, and federal funds to support the development and preservation of affordable housing in Fairfax County. Currently appropriated, the funds are available now for multi-family affordable housing development projects; an additional $15 million in federal funding has been preliminarily identified for this purpose; and additional state funding will be announced in the near future. Current and anticipated funding includes resources from the county's Housing Blueprint Fund, the Tysons Housing Trust Fund, the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, and the Virginia Housing Amazon Impact REACH Fund. A Pre-Application Conference is scheduled for Thursday, August 12, 2021 . It is anticipated that this conference will be available virtually through Microsoft Teams with a potential in-person option. Details will be provided when they are finalized. Register by Friday, August 6, 2021 via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to attend the conference. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through June 30, 2022 , or until all the fiscal year 2022 funding is allocated. Complete program details, supporting documents, and application instructions, are available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/housing/development/fundingavailability .
Eviction Prevention Resources Available for Renters and Landlords – Fairfax County's Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program provides assistance to renters experiencing a negative financial impact due to COVID-19. Through ERA, tenants may apply to receive funds to pay delinquent rent or utility arrear payments back to March 13, 2020, and up to three months of payments into the future to maintain housing stability. The total payments may not exceed a total of 15 months of rental assistance per household. Individuals who have previously received assistance from Fairfax County may apply again through this new program. Landlords also can apply for assistance on behalf of their tenants through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program Landlord Portal ( https://hhsncs.powerappsportals.us/ ). The ERA Program checklist (for both tenants and landlords) includes eligibility details, points of contact, and a list of information and documentation that may be required to obtain assistance. The checklists are available in several languages:
- Tenants: Arabic , Amharic , Chinese , English , Farsi , Korean , Spanish , Urdu , Vietnamese
- Landlords: Arabic , Amharic , Chinese , English , Farsi , Korean , Spanish , Urdu , Vietnamese
All residents experiencing financial hardship are encouraged to contact Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) by calling 703-222-0880; TTY 711, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Assistance is available for housing payments (rent, mortgage, fees, and security deposit) and utilities (electric, gas, and water). CSP staff will assist in determining eligibility for available resources and programs beyond ERA. For more information visit the Eviction Prevention Information website ( https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health-humanservices/eviction-prevention ).
Virginia Sales Tax Holiday – Virginia's 2021 Tax Free Weekend is coming soon! Beginning Friday, August 6, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. until Sunday, August 8, 2021 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 .
The FCPA Hosts Open House for Historic Margaret White Gardens – The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) invites you to an open house on Saturday, August 7, 2021 , from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Margaret White Gardens, located within the John C. and Margaret K. White Gardens Horticultural Park, 6711 Princess Anne Lane in Falls Church. The open house includes a tour of the house and its grounds, and parking is available on site. The FCPA is preparing the historic Margaret White Gardens for advertisement through the Resident Curator Program, which provides the unique opportunity for individuals, non-profit, and for-profit organizations to secure long-term lease agreements in beautiful public park settings. For more information, visit the FCPA Resident Curator Program website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resident-curator-program , send an e-mail to Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov , or call 703-324-8662; TTY 711.
Enjoy Summer Concerts in August at Park Authority Venues – The Fairfax County Park Authority's Summer Entertainment Series continues with live, in-person performances through Saturday, August 28, 2021 , that include evening concerts, morning children's shows, and four drive-in movies. A complete county-wide listing of performances, dates, and times is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances . Because performances are outdoors, in the event of inclement weather, please call the HOTLINE at 703-324-SHOW (7469) one hour prior to the start of the show for updates.
Health Department Urges Parents to Update Children's School Immunizations to Meet New Requirements – The Fairfax County Health Department urgently is requesting that families take immediate action to update immunizations required for their children to attend school in the fall. Failure to do so may affect a student's ability to enroll. Parents of rising seventh and 12th graders should be aware of the following new requirements effective July 1, 2021 :
- Meningococcal Conjugate (MenACWY) Vaccine - The first dose should be administered prior to entering 7th grade. The final dose should be administered prior to entering 12th grade.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine - A complete series of two doses of HPV vaccine is required for students entering the 7th grade. The first dose shall be administered before the child enters the 7th grade.
Families who do not have a doctor may have their children immunized at a Health Department clinic. All clinics are offering extended evening hours on Tuesdays until 6 p.m. to accommodate parents, and some weekend hours are available. School immunizations are by appointment only - no walk-ins will be accepted. Parents can make an appointment by calling 703-246-7100; TTY 711. For locations, visit the Health Department website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/clinics . Information about minimum school and daycare immunization requirements is available at the Virginia Department of Health website www.vdh.virginia.gov/immunization/requirements/ .
Neighborhood Watch Training Available – Interested in learning about Neighborhood Watch? Want to join, but don't know how? Not sure, but still want to know how to make your community more secure? The Mason District Station Crime Prevention Officers will host a Neighborhood Watch Training via Zoom on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 6 p.m. Training requirements and techniques will be discussed to help make your neighborhood a safer place. To participate, register at https://masoncpoevents.eventbrite.com . The Zoom link for the meeting will be e-mailed to registered attendees one hour prior to the event.
Bailey's Shelter and Supportive Housing Welcomes Volunteers Back On-Site! – After more than a year, Bailey's Shelter and Supportive Housing (BSSH ) is excited to welcome volunteers back on-site! Volunteers contribute to BSSH by supporting shelter services and conducting engaging programming for guests. BSSH currently needs individuals who are interested in preparing bagged lunches, running life skills workshops, and leading recreational activities. Additionally, BSSH continues to assist large numbers of homeless individuals in need through temporary shelter, permanent supportive housing, and drop-in programs. Current needs include donations of new adult clothing basics, such as T-shirts, lightweight sweatpants, and underwear (sizes M, L, and XL) for shelter guests. To schedule a donation, volunteer, or just learn more about shelter needs, contact Bianca Clark at email@example.com , or call 703-578-8852. 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 and an officer can conduct a wellness check.
BOS Commits to Become Carbon Neutral by 2040 – At its Tuesday, July 13, 2021 meeting, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) Fairfax County committed to become carbon neutral by 2040 in its energy use for government operations, including buildings, facilities and transportation. T he BOS adopted an updated Operational Energy Strategy and issued a formal declaration, dubbed " Carbon Neutral Counties ," which encourages other local governments to take action to halt climate change. Fairfax County's move to carbon neutrality resulted from the work by its Joint Environmental Task Force , which was created by the Board of Supervisors and School Board . The group's final report laid out the transformational goal to become carbon neutral by 2040, along with supporting recommendations on energy, transportation, waste management and recycling and workforce development. For additional information, visit the Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/environment-energy-coordination/ , send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 703-324-7136; TTY 711.
Proposed Tax on Single-Use Plastic Bags Aims to Reduce Environmental Hazards – On Tuesday, July 27, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized advertisement of a public hearing for Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. to receive testimony about a proposal that would impose a five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags. In accordance with enabling legislation passed in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, the five-cent tax would be applied to each disposable plastic bag provided at point of checkout at grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores. The proposal would exempt the following types of plastic bags:
- Bags used to contain or wrap meat, fish, poultry, produce, ice cream, unwrapped bulk food or perishable food to avoid damage or contamination;
- Bags used to carry dry cleaning or prescription drugs; and
- Bags sold for garbage, pet waste, or yard waste.
Reusable plastic shopping or grocery bags with handles at least 4 mils thick also would be exempted from the proposed tax. The state would collect the five-cent tax, and the money would be divided between retailers and the county as determined by state law. The proposal aims to benefit the environment by encouraging people to use fewer single-use plastic bags, which often litter streams, rivers and oceans, harming fish and other wildlife. Residents who wish to testify before the BOS may register online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speakers-form , or sign-up by calling 703-324-3151; TTY 711, no later than 12 p.m. the day of the hearing. Video testimony must be submitted no later than 9 a.m. the day prior to the public hearing. Written testimony may be sent by first-class mail to: Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 552, Fairfax, 22035, or by e-mail at ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov . If adopted, the plastic bag tax would take effect on January 1, 2022 . For information, including answers to FAQs, visit the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/environment-energy-coordination/disposable-plastic-bag-tax-fairfax-county , send an e-mail to email@example.com , or call 703-324-7136; TTY 711.
Vietnamese and Korean Speakers Needed as Election Officers for the November General Election – The Fairfax County Office of Elections needs additional bilingual election officers to assist voters for the General Election to be held on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 , and in future elections. Specifically, individuals who speak Vietnamese and English fluently, or Korean and English fluently, are needed to serve in Annandale, Centreville, Chantilly, and Falls Church. Bilingual election officers will perform all regular election officer duties, including assisting most voters in English, but will be assigned to precincts with a significant number of voters who primarily may speak Vietnamese or Korean. To serve as a designated bilingual election officer, you must be a registered Virginia voter and also complete a short oral language skills assessment. Fairfax County is the largest voting jurisdiction in Virginia with 247 precincts countywide. It takes thousands of enthusiastic and trained election officers to ensure that we have efficient and well-run elections. Compensation begins at $175 and training is provided online for new officers. Apply before Monday, September 13, 2021 , at https://www.vote4fairfax.com/apply/ , and please indicate whether you speak Vietnamese or Korean. For additional information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/officers/new-officers . Questions? Call 703-324-4735; or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairfax County Seeks Volunteers for Selection Advisory Committee – Make a difference in your community by volunteering to participate on a Selection Advisory Committee that will review and evaluate proposals and make recommendations about how to distribute funds to community partners that support Fairfax County residents. The funds are issued through the Consolidated Community Funding Pool, a competitive countywide grant program, and would fund programs that fill crucial human services needs among the most vulnerable populations. To be eligible for the Selection Advisory Committee, you must be a Fairfax County resident and at least 21 years of age. You are not eligible if you are a current Fairfax County Government employee, board member/officer, or an employee of any organization planning to apply for CCFP funding. Volunteers must be able to commit 2.5 hours per week from January-March 2022. Extensive pre-service orientation will be provided, and this volunteer opportunity can be done entirely virtually if requested. For more information, visit the Procurement and Material Management's Consolidated Community Funding Pool website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/procurement/sponsoredprograms/fundingpool , or contact Michelle Brizzi by e-mail at Michelle.Brizzi@fairfaxcounty.gov , by phone at 703-324-5503, and apply by Tuesday, August 31, 2021 .
Is Your Child Safety Seat Installed Correctly? – The Fairfax County Police Department is hosting a Child Car Seat Inspection on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at the Mason District Station, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale; no appointment is necessary. Child Passenger Safety Technicians, certified by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), can ensure your child's safety seat is installed correctly. 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. For more information about inspections, contact the Mason District Station at 703-256-8035, press zero for the front desk. Information about car seat safety, and how to find the right car seat for your child, visit the NHTSA website at www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats .
Summer Safari Anyone? – Safaris don't have to feature big game in a distant land. Explore the habitats and activities of s alamanders, snakes, toads, turtles on Saturday, August 21, 2021 , from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria (Fairfax County). Binoculars and magnifying glasses will be provided. Attendees must be registered for this program and can do so easily by visiting www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes (code AQ9.67LK), or call Green Spring Gardens at 703-642-5173.
FCPD Safety Series Features the SRO Program– On Monday, August 30, 2021 at 6 p.m., join the Fairfax County Police Department, Mason District Station, in welcoming Sgt. Brett Choyce, from the Community Resource Division, who will present information about the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program. Sgt. Choyce will highlight the duties of SROs, how they contribute to a safe learning environment for students, and discuss the type of law enforcement resources SRO's provide school administrators in the Fairfax County Public Schools. Register for the event at https://masoncpoevents.eventbrite.com . The Zoom link for the meeting will be e-mailed to registered attendees one hour prior to the event.
NCS Senior Centers Open; Virtual Classes Continue – Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) has select Fairfax County Senior Centers, including the Lincolnia Senior Center at 4710 North Chambliss Street in Alexandria, open for members to use fitness rooms and computer labs, play games, and socialize with their peers. Currently, staff and instructor-led classes and programs will not be offered, but are scheduled to resume when senior centers open at full capacity on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 . No temperature or daily health checks are required to visit one of the re-opened centers, but you should stay home if you feel ill. If not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, please wear a mask during your visit. Participants also will be required to sign a liability waiver to visit senior centers. For more information, including a complete list of locations and Frequently Asked Questions, visit https://bit.ly/SCreopen2021 . The Virtual Center for Active Adults will continue to offer classes online ( www.fairfaxcounty.gov/neighborhood-community-services/virtual-center-active-adults ). Questions? Call 703-324-4600, or send an e-mail to email@example.com .
Save the Date: In-Person CAC Meetings Return this Fall – No Zoom! The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) returns to in-person meetings on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at 7 p.m. The next meeting will feature a presentation by the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Unit, a.k.a. "The Bomb Squad." The CAC is open to ALL residents in the Mason District, and meetings help to enhance communication between the police department and the public by offering community members the chance to speak directly with their local officers at Mason District Station.
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 – Climate change is a global problem that requires local action and leadership to mitigate its negative effects. Through the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, Fairfax County is developing two significant climate change action plans. The first, the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan, is focused on reducing our carbon emissions locally and is driven by voluntary actions by individuals within our community. The second plan is devoted to climate adaptation and resilience, and it is part of a new county initiative known as Resilient Fairfax, which aims to increase our community's overall resilience to climate impacts, such as floods, scorching heat or frigid temperatures caused by extreme weather events. 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 Matt Meyers, division manager for climate planning and resilience in the Fairfax County 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 online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason .
The Quick 411 – I heard there was a recent "Food Summit" in Fairfax County. Is there information available? Yes. The Fairfax Food Council recently hosted a virtual summit – 2021 Fairfax Food Summit Empowering Equitable Food Solutions: Collaborations During COVID and Beyond. This year's summit focused on how our food system responded to the challenges faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and reflected on how to build upon the new collaborations, innovative solutions, and successes that resulted from this response. Watch a recording of the 2021 Food Summit at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpOLC2hSmhE&t=1s , and learn more about the Fairfax Food Council at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/food-council/ .