Civic engagement is alive and well in Mason District. Community picnics and neighborhood events bring out the best in our county, as new and long-time residents alike share meals and experiences. One young father told me how much he enjoys living in Fairfax County, with its great park system and responsive services. He said that his job had him live in other parts of the country, but Fairfax is the best, surpassing New England and Houston in livability. Another man, whose daughter is planning to study veterinary medicine when she finishes college, expressed satisfaction with the public education his daughter received in Fairfax County.
Traffic and neighborhood changes were topics of extended conversation. Slowing speeds through residential areas is the focus of several neighborhoods in Mason District. Traffic calming is the term used, and involves installation of physical devices, such as speed humps, speed tables, raised pedestrian crosswalks, etc., for slowing the speed of traffic. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), a state agency, operates and maintains roads in Fairfax County, and establishes the criteria for traffic calming and other residential traffic programs that are administered by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT). Traffic counts, petitions, task forces, civic meetings, and a community vote all must be favorable before traffic devices are installed.
The Zoning Enforcement Strike Force concept enacted by the Board of Super-visors in April is receiving a warm reception. As mentioned in an earlier column, the strike force will bring together several county agencies to coordinate investigation and enforcement of suspected boarding houses and other life safety issues in residential areas. Systematic, egregious, and often audacious violations of the Zoning Ordinance by some property owners were overwhelming traditional investigative tactics. Zoning, health, fire marshal, police, sheriff, housing, and human services personnel will target the most egregious violations first. Efforts will involve consultation with civic associations; possible undercover operations, reviews of permit applications for renovations and construction, and investigation of illegal utility hook-ups are among the tactics that will be used. The Strike Force is expected to be operational early next month. There is no change to the method of reporting complaints. Suspected zoning violations, including the specific street address, may be reported to my office or directly to the Zoning Enforcement Division.
For your calendar…Emergency Preparedness: A Focus on Seniors program will be held on Thursday, June 7, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the James Lee Center, 2855-A Annandale Road in Falls Church. The program will focus on senior citizens and the shelter in place concept for emergency preparedness. Red Cross personnel will demonstrate how to put together an emergency kit, and emergency and health department personnel will provide information about staying prepared, what to be alert for in an emergency, and what Fairfax County is doing to keep prepared. A light lunch will be provided. The event, sponsored by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizen’s Associations in partnership with the Board of Supervisors and other county agencies, is free and open to the public.