The Board Corner: Perspectives from Penny – Happy New Year! After nearly two years of pandemic, I hope that 2022 will be healthier for all, and the beginning of an actual post-pandemic return to normal activities. Vaccinations, masks, and social distancing have helped reduce the incidence of COVID infections in our community; continued vigilance will help fight the COVID variants that have been identified in recent weeks and months.
Once every 10 years, with release of U.S. Census data, the Board of Supervisors appoints a citizen Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC) to review changes in population and make recommendations about magisterial district boundary changes. The RAC also invited citizens to submit their own redistricting maps; ultimately, 64 citizen maps were submitted for review. A public hearing was held in November, and the Board of Supervisors adopted a map in early December 2021 that moved just seven of the more than 240 precincts in Fairfax County to more closely balance population numbers and communities of interest.
Fairfax County grew by slightly less than 70,000 residents since 2010; Mason District has been the smallest, both in population and geography, so some adjustments were needed. Two precincts, Fort Buffalo and a portion of Woodburn, were moved from Providence to Mason Districts, giving Mason District a population of about 125,000 residents. The plan retains the current nine district seats, and aims for about 128,000 residents per district. The adopted proposal has a maximum and minimum deviation of less than three percent, well within established parameters. No existing Mason District precincts were moved; if your address was in Mason District prior to redistricting, it still is in Mason District. The adopted plan has been submitted to the Attorney General of Virginia for certification; the new district boundaries became effective immediately.
I am pleased to welcome Fort Buffalo and the inside-the-Beltway portion of Woodburn precinct to Mason District! The addition of Fort Buffalo brings all of the Fairfax County portion of Seven Corners into the same magisterial district, and adds the historic James Lee Community Center and a portion of Tinner Hill to Mason District. Additionally, Mason District gains Woodburn Elementary School, Fairview Park and the Marriott hotel, along with many established neighborhoods. The move does not include Fairfax Hospital and the INOVA campus, which remain in Providence District.
A new year, some new constituents, along with some old and new challenges, makes 2022 bright with anticipation. Have a happy and healthy New Year!
Land Use News – Land use items of interest include:
- VDOT is nearing completion of two Traffic Signal Rebuild Projects at the intersections of Columbia Pike at Lacy Boulevard/Maple Court in Falls Church, and Columbia Pike at John Marr Drive/Chatelain Road in Annandale. The span wire configuration was replaced with two twin signal poles with mast arms, high visibility backplates for all signal heads, and new Flashing Yellow Arrow signals on Columbia Pike for protected-permissive left turns. The projects include ADA-compliant curb ramps, high visibility crosswalks, and audible pedestrian signals with appropriate locator and crossing tones for all four approaches at the intersections. Barring any unforeseen delays, both projects will be completed late winter 2022.
- A Bus Stop Improvement project was completed on eastbound Leesburg Pike at Glen Carlyn Drive. The project includes a new sidewalk, concrete pad with curb, a bench, a trash can, and a new bus shelter. Bollards also were installed between the back of the bus shelter and the parking lot of the Culmore Shopping Center to prevent cars from parking too close to the bus shelter.
Reminder: Plastic Bag Tax Takes Effect January 1, 2022 – A five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags available at grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores checkout points takes effect on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The plastic bag tax aims to benefit the environment by encouraging people to use fewer single-use plastic bags that often litter local waterways, harming fish and other wildlife. Bags exempt from the tax include reusable plastic shopping or grocery bags with handles at least 4 mils thick; plastic bags used to contain/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. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/environment-energy-coordination/disposable-plastic-bag-tax-fairfax-county.
Hours of Operation Changing at I-95 Landfill Complex and I-66 Transfer Station –
Extended operating hours for residents to drop off trash, recyclables, and various specialty wastes (e.g., used oil, old batteries, scrap metal) at the I-66 Transfer Station and the I-95 Landfill Complex take effect on Saturday, January 1, 2022: Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekend hours, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., will remain unchanged at both facilities. Incoming waste volumes at county facilities have changed in quantity and times of delivery. By addressing hours of operation, management can adjust staffing to support these changes. Safety is a priority, so maintaining Resident Only on Sundays will reduce larger vehicle traffic onsite. Conversely, as of January 1, 2022, commercial customers will experience slightly shorter hours of business at these facilities. There are no changes in the hours of operation at the Covanta Fairfax facility in Lorton. For more information about these changes, contact the Solid Waste Management Program at 703-324-5320, or visit the website on January 1, 2022 at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/news/hours-operation-changing-i-95-landfill-complex-and-i-66-transfer-station.
Mason District Station CAC Meeting Welcomes Returning and New Members in 2022 – Start the new year by participating in the Community Advisory Committee (CAC), which resumes on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, and welcomes returning and new members. CAC meetings are open to ALL residents in the Mason Police District to enhance communication between the police department and the public by offering community members the chance to speak directly with their local officers at the Mason District Station, located at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale.
West Springfield District Station Hosts Virtual Community Engagement Meeting – The West Springfield District Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will host a Virtual Community Engagement Meeting on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 7 p.m. The featured speaker is APPO III Sarah Paisley, who will discuss the Fairfax County Animal Protection Police Functions and Responsibilities. The meeting will be held via Zoom, or you may join by telephone. There will be Spanish language interpretation available for this meeting. Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://fairfaxcounty.zoom.us/j/82231284028?pwd=cktQdU5HZEp1aVhtUFQ0SG5sV2F3UT09
USA 636 651 3141
USA 8774029753 (US Toll Free)
Conference code: 404496
Find local AT&T Numbers: https://www.teleconference.att.com/servlet/glbAccess?process=1&accessNumber=6366513141&accessCode=404496
The West Springfield District Station CAC is a free program, and all ages are welcome to attend. The meetings generally are held the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m., except for July and August. Questions? Contact PFC Tony Capizzi at 703-277-2363.
Franconia District Station Community Engagement Meetings in 2022 – Community engagement meetings, such as those hosted by Community Advisory Committee (CAC) are open to all residents in the Franconia Police District. These meetings facilitate and improve communication between police officers and the public. Visit the Franconia District Station's website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/district/franconia for information about upcoming community meetings, contact Community Outreach Officer PFC Cindy Osegueda by e-mail at Cindy.Osegueda@fairfaxcounty.gov, or call the station at 703-922-0889.
REVISED: Ring in the New Year with a Secure Child Car Seat – Due to weather conflicts, the Fairfax County Police Department is now hosting its monthly Child Car Seat Inspection on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at the Mason District Station, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale; no appointment is necessary. 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 information about inspections, contact the Mason District Station at 703-256-8035, press 0 for the front desk.
EQAC Seeks Public Comment about the Environment in Fairfax County – The Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC), an advisory group appointed by the Board of Supervisors, will host a public comment meeting on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 7:15 p.m., in Conference Room 9/10 of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center in Fairfax. The public is welcome to provide written, verbal, or video testimony about environmental topics of their choice, and the meeting is open for in-person participation and observation. Pre-recorded video or written testimony is due to the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination (OEEC) by 5 p.m. on Monday, January 3, 2022. For ways to provide testimony, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/environment-energy-coordination/january-12-2022-eqac-meeting. The public comment meeting coincides with the release of EQAC's 2021 Annual Report on the Environment, which summarizes policies supported by EQAC throughout the years, and includes recommendations for the Board of Supervisors' consideration in 2022. Questions? Contact Ali Althen, Public Information Officer for the OEEC, by e-mail at email@example.com, or call 571-373-1722.
VDOT Seeks Public Comment about Braddock Road Multimodal Improvements Project – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is hosting a virtual public information meeting on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 7 p.m. about the Braddock Road Multimodal Improvements Project and seeks public insight. The proposed project on Braddock Road, between Humphries Drive in Burke and Ravensworth Road in Annandale, aims to improve multimodal safety, mobility, accessibility for all users with intersection and interchange enhancements, new and upgraded shared-use paths along both sides of Braddock Road, and a pedestrian overpass west of Burke Lake Road. To access and participate in the virtual meeting, visit www.virginiadot.org/BraddockMultimodal. A short presentation by the project team is scheduled for 7 p.m., followed by a question/answer session. Comments also may be submitted via comment form on the project website through Thursday, February 24, 2022, by mail to Mr. W. Calvin Britt, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, or by e-mail to meetingcomments@VDOT.Virginia.gov. Reference "Braddock Road Multimodal Improvements" in the subject line.
January 2022 Winter Leadership Series for Civic and HOA Leaders Features Public Safety Personnel – On Saturday, January 22, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Supervisor Penny Gross begins her in-person Winter 2022 Leadership Series meetings for Mason District Civic and Homeowners Association leaders by welcoming the commanders and assistant commanders from the Mason, Franconia, and West Springfield District Stations, and personnel from the Fire Department. The Winter 2022 Leadership Series continues as follows:
- Saturday, February 26, 2022 – Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance.
- Saturday, March 26, 2022 – To Be Announced.
The meetings are held at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, from 10 a.m. to noon. Masks are required. If you can't attend one of the meetings, please invite another member of your board. For the January meeting, please RSVP by Monday, January 17, 2022, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-256-7717. Please note that topics and presenters may be subject to change based on staff availability.
AARP Tax Preparation Services Returns by Appointment to Mason District – AARP volunteers return to the Large Conference Room at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, to provide free tax assistance by appointment to clients of all ages beginning Friday, January 28 through Monday, April 18, 2022 (federal tax returns). Hours of operation: 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 21, 2022.) Note: Federal tax returns are due April 18, 2022, and Virginia tax returns are due by Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, AARP's method of service will be "Drop Off" tax documents by appointment only. (No walk-ins.) At the appointment, clients will be interviewed by an IRS-certified counselor, who also will accept the tax documents. Counselor will prepare and review clients' tax returns without clients' presence. Counselors will advise clients when to return to review their taxes, sign, receive a copy of the completed tax return, and retrieve their tax documents. All tax returns will be filed electronically. COVID-19 protocols will be in effect. Masks are required, and only the client(s) may enter the Tax-Aide area.
Obtain and complete a Tax Preparation Intake Packet, available on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, one of two ways:
- At the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, inside the entry door to the right (by the bulletin board); or
- Visit https://sites.google.com/view/virginia-d5-taxpayers/home/sites/mason-district-government-center to download and print the packet;
- Then, schedule an appointment by calling 571-303-9865 after Monday, January 17, 2022.
Bring tax documents with a photo ID, all Social Security cards, and (if possible) last year's tax return. For information about AARP Tax-Aide, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call 1-888-687-2277; TTY 877-434-7598.
Fairfax County's Hypothermia Prevention Program is in Progress – The Bailey's Shelter and Supportive Housing's (BSSH) Hypothermia Prevention Program is in effect now through March 31, 2022. 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 may conduct a wellness check and, if the person agrees, may transport the person to the nearest shelter. If you see someone at risk of hypothermia, call 911. The program welcomes donations at this time of year including hot meals and bagged lunches, and the following new clothing items for both men and women: thermal tops and bottoms, sweatshirts and sweatpants, undershirts, underwear, and winter coats. If you have questions about donating items, please contact Jan-Michael Sacharko at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-799-2293 x27. Information about the county's Hypothermia Program is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/hypothermia-prevention-program, or call 703-324-9492.
BOS Approves Expansion of Real Estate Tax Relief Program – On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved expanding the Real Estate Tax Relief Program for senior citizens and people with disabilities by increasing qualified incomes and net worth, adding a new 75 percent tax relief bracket, and offering an option to defer tax payments. The changes will be phased in during the next two years, starting January 1, 2022 with the higher income and net worth limits. Fact sheets in English and several other languages will be available in on the Department of Tax Administration (DTA) website. Applications for residents who currently are in the program will be mailed in late January 2022. The deadline to renew 2022 tax relief applications is May 2, 2022. The deadline for first-time applicants and certain hardship cases is December 31, 2022. For information about tax relief and qualifications, contact the DTA at 703-222-8234; TTY 711, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., send an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes/relief. Information about tax relief and other exemptions is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes/tax-relief-other-exemptions.
Senior Citizen Tax Relief 2022 Workshops, by Appointment, Coming to 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 17 and 18, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. both days, at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Because of the detrimental effect of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations, the in-person workshops are limited to 50 individuals per day. To schedule an appointment, please send an e-mail to Mason@FairfaxCounty.gov, or call 703-256-7717 and speak with Chris Delta. Most applications, mailed to residents in late January 2022, will ask residents to sign an affidavit to certify they still are within the program threshold (short form) and return it to the Department of Tax Administration. The preferred methods to return completed applications are referenced on the application. The deadline to renew your 2022 tax relief applications is May 2, 2022. Older adults and people with disabilities may qualify for Real Estate and Personal Property (car) tax relief. Qualified taxpayers also may be eligible for tax relief for renters. For more information, including virtual tax relief workshops, contact the Department of Tax Administration at 703-222-8234; TTY 711, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes/relief.
FCPD Safety Series Returns in 2022 – On Monday, January 31, 2022 at 6 p.m., the Fairfax County Police Department, Mason District Police Station, will re-new its commitment to safety by continuing its monthly Safety Series that feature in-person classes. Participants are required to wear masks, and registration also is required. Visit https://masoncpoevents.eventbrite.com for more information and to register.
Dog License Renewals/New Applications Due February 1, 2022 – If you have not done so already, renew all dog licenses no later than Monday, February 1, 2022, to be compliant. The Fairfax County Animal Shelter, located at 4500 West Ox Road in Fairfax, has resumed an in-person option on-site at the shelter. It is required to be socially distanced and wear a mask. All dogs four months of age or older must be licensed. Proof of current rabies vaccination certification is required at the time of purchase with the $10 fee (cost is the same for altered/unaltered dogs). Dog licenses for dogs registered previously with the Department of Tax Administration (DTA) may be renewed online at the DTA website www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes/. New dog owners may obtain and complete a dog license application at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/taxes/sites/taxes/files/assets/documents/pdf/dog-license-application.pdf. For service/program updates, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/animal-shelter-operations-update-covid-19, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call 703-830-1100.
Native Seedling Sale Features TREE-mendous Flowers and Un-BEE-lievable Blooms – The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) will begin accepting orders for its Annual Native Seedling Sale on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Two packages are available. TREE-mendous Flowers includes two of the following species: American Hornbeam, Canadian Serviceberry, and Winterberry Holly. Un-BEE-lievable Blooms includes two of each of the following species: False Indigobush, Eastern Redbud, and Silky Willow. A full, non-refundable pre-payment by credit card must accompany the order. For more information and to place an order, visit the NVSWCD website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-water-conservation/native-seedling-sale. Orders must be picked up on Friday, April 1 or Saturday, April 2, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet Club, 3516 Sleepy Hollow Road in Falls Church, or they will be donated to a reforestation project in Fairfax County. For more information, call 703-324-1460, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Snow Falls this Winter, VDOT is Ready for It – If/when our region has a snowfall, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the state agency that controls and maintains the roads in Fairfax County, is ready to mobilize its contractors and offers residents online resources to get information from home, work, and on mobile devices. VDOT's Winter Resources include:
- One-Stop Resources: www.virginiadot.org/novaemergency has links to news releases, Twitter feed, status updates, VDOT Plows, customer service, Frequently Asked Questions, and more;
- Plowing in Northern Virginia neighborhoods begins after two inches of snow has fallen: vdotplows.org/;
- Follow @VaDOTNOVA on Twitter for real-time conditions, safety messaging, and live ride-a-longs;
- For road conditions and traffic cameras: www.511virginia.org;
- Report unplowed roads, hazardous conditions to https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/, or call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623);
- For National Weather Service and Iteris forecast reviews: www.weather.gov/washington/winter;
- VDOT Answers: How to Properly Shovel Your Driveway (YouTube Video); and
- VDOT Answers: The Top 5 Snow Removal Questions.
- 9-1-1, for police, fire, and rescue (life-threatening emergencies only, please)
Note: If your road is not plowed and you have an emergency, VDOT will coordinate with emergency personnel.
- Small Events: 12-18 hours before forecasted start
- Large Events: 18-24 hours before forecasted start
Passable Lane Goals - Crews work interstates, primary roads, and main subdivision roads in priority order.
- 2-4 inches of snow: 24 hours
- 4-6 inches of snow: 48 hours
- 6 inches or more of snow: 72+ hours
How You Can Help:
- Monitor forecasts frequently;
- Telework, adjust commutes, and avoid driving when possible;
- Park in driveways or park on the odd-numbered side of the street.
- Do not shovel driveway until plows have come through;
- Have enough fuel, wiper fluid, proper tires, medication, food, water, and an emergency car kit;
- Be patient: crews are practicing social distancing and need time, and room, to work.
Watercolors Featured at Mason District Governmental Center – Watercolors by Marni Maree are on display at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Enjoy watercolor paintings of various subjects, and oil paintings of animals and flowers. There also are some "Corona Abstracts" that were painted during the COVID-19 lockdown that are colorful and hopeful, and reveal Maree's thoughts about this new way of living. A native of Philadelphia, Maree teaches art locally at the Workhouse Arts Center, and has led many international travel workshops in France, Italy, and New Zealand. She is a member of the Potomac Valley Watercolorists, Springfield Art Guild, and the Virginia Watercolor Society. The artwork will be on display in the Supervisor's Office through January 30, 2022.
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 email@example.com 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 – Our parks are an essential part of our lives, and this was especially evident during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when virtual offerings were introduced to continue programs, classes, and events. Park usage is on the rise, and our RECenters, golf courses, trails, and nature centers are enjoyed daily. Seasonal activities, such as free summer concerts and Farmer's Markets, provide bargains and entertainment for the whole family, and the newest offering, Pickleball, was introduced into the park system this past year. We are fortunate to have 23,607 acres of parkland, 427 parks, nine RECenters, eight golf courses, an ice-skating rink, 209 playgrounds, 668 public garden plots, five nature centers, three equestrian facilities, 263 athletic fields, 82 historic sites two water parks, a horticultural center and more than 334 miles of trails. Leading such a dynamic institution is no easy task. However, the new executive director of the Park Authority is ready for this challenge. The January edition of Mason Matters!, the television show that brings you news and information about our Mason District community, hosted by Supervisor Penny Gross, features Jai Cole, the new executive director of the Fairfax County Park Authority, who shares her vision for the agency's future. 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 – My child and I are interested to learn more about local plants and animals. Does Fairfax County have any guide available? Yes. Fairfax County's "A FIELD GUIDE TO FAIRFAX COUNTY'S PLANTS AND WILDLIFE," can help young readers identify common species found in our neighborhoods, schoolyards, parks, and other outdoor areas. The guide includes fun activities for exploring how organisms fit into the ecosystem and generate awareness of how humans affect the environment. To download the guide, visit A Field Guide to Fairfax County's Plants and Wildlife | Public Works and Environmental Services (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicworks/field-guide). For additional information, send an e-mail to the Stormwater Planning Division at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-324-5500, TTY 711.
By requesting e-mails from Fairfax County, please know that your contact information is protected from release under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) unless you specifically tell us otherwise. Should you wish for your contact information to be released in response to a FOIA request for the same, then please email FOIA@fairfaxcounty.gov.