Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
April 2002 School Board Member Chris Braunlich Speaks
April 23 RHCA Meeting
Lee District School Board Member Chris Braunlich will be the speaker at our Tuesday night meeting at 7 p.m. in the John Marshall Library community room. Chris has been in office since 1996 and is one of the School Board's most respected members.
A resident of nearby Lake Deveraux, Chris holds a B.A in science and history from Hofstra University. He previously resided in Tartan Village where he was a member of the Community Association's Board of Directors.
He currently is the Vice President for Policy and Communications, Center for Education Reform. He is a member of the PTAs at Edison High School, Hayfield Elementary and Hayfield Secondary and is an Odyssey of the Mind problem-solving coach. We will have to ask him to explain that last one!
Having just gone through a tough budget session, Chris will be able to share his thoughts on the final outcome.
Braunlich is one of 12 school board members, nine of whom are elected to represent political subdivisions and three are elected at large throughout the county. In addition, there is a non-voting student member of the school board.
Delegate Tom Bolvin will speak at the May 28th RHCA meeting and Supervisor Dana Kauffman will be on hand at the June 25th meeting.
Loss of a Friend
William and Jean Stemple of Cottonwood Drive contacted the Rambler to report the loss of a neighborhood friend. We are printing the Stemple's remembrance verbatim:
"The Rose Hill community recently lost a beloved friend and neighbor. Don Taylor of Cottonwood Drive died Saturday, March 9 after a relatively short bout with cancer.
"Don was an extremely generous outgoing person who could never do too much for anyone. He was very gifted in his ability to work and repair almost anything powered by a small gasoline motor, as well as small appliances, bicycles, toys and many other items. He could be seen almost everyday working in his garage and driveway area on the many items he repaired. The great thing was that Don did these things without a thought about payment or any other fee.
"Don was able to obtain bicycles, toys, lawn equipment and other small items which he repaired and gave away. Whenever children in the area had any trouble with their bicycle or other toys they always knew that Don could quickly fix the item.
"No matter what the need, Don was always there and he will be missed by all."
Don Taylor was one of the unsung heroes who helped make Rose Hill a great place in which to live. We are sure he is now in an even bigger community, helping make it an even better place. Each of us can honor his memory by continuing, within our ability, his work in Rose Hill. Thanks to the Stemples for sharing Don's memory with us.
Cable TV Public Hearing
At the request of the Board of Supervisors, the Consumer Protection Commission will hold two public hearings to solicit comments from county citizens on the status of cable television in Fairfax County. On Wednesday, April 24, a public hearing will be held in the cafeteria at Edison High School, 5801 Franconia Road, beginning at 7:30 p.m. There also is a public hearing on Thursday, April 25 at the Fairfax County Governmental Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, in conference rooms 4 and 5. Call 703-324-5957 to sign up to speak, or just show up and wait your turn. Persons representing groups will be given up to five minutes to speak. Persons representing themselves will have three minutes.
The Consumer Protection Commission is particularly interested in hearing comments on recommendations on how the cable television providers in Fairfax County can improve overall customer service, characterizations of current problems and reports on how overall cable service improved after receiving Cox's digital upgrade.
Cars, Cars, Cars
A recent Washington Post article highlighted Fairfax County's proposed ordinance limiting how much of a residential front yard can be paved to 25 percent of the total area and prohibiting drivers from parking on anything but pavement. The Post quoted unnamed "critics" as saying the proposed rule would come down hardest on the region's burgeoning immigrant population and small neighborhood businesses. In Fairfax, business in residential areas already is tightly regulated because of concerns about commercial traffic on neighborhood streets.
As you might have read, my concern had to do with where the cars would go if they were barred from the front yard. The street, obviously. In Fairfax streets are controlled by the state, not the county, so they could be legally parked in all except no parking zones. My reasoning is that our narrow streets in Rose Hill cannot handle an increase in parked cars that make it difficult if not impossible for two cars going in opposite directions to safely pass each other.
Which brings me to my bigger concern: Overpopulation of houses in excess of zoning and Health Department regulations. More people mean more cars. Those in excess of the law should not be tolerated. We ask that Fairfax County enforce the existing laws regarding the number of people who legally can reside in a specific residence. If they are within the law and each one has a car, we will have to live with it! Reminder: Only one small commercial vehicle per house can be parked in a residential area.
Prices, Assessments Continue Upward Spiral in Rose Hill
The stock market may be having its troubles, interest rates on savings are at an all-time low, but there is a boom in real estate in our little corner of the world. However, it is a two-edged sword since the assessed value for real estate taxes continues to climb dramatically. Low mortgage interest rates and Rose Hill's "affordability" have fueled a major spike in prices over the last several years.
That is fine if you plan to sell. And many have, judging by the abundance of real estate signs in the community lately. I am sure many "long-timers" are thinking long and hard about cashing in on our investment. For those who recently have joined our community, we remind them that the best way to protect their investment is to properly maintain their property and help see to it that their neighbors do the same.
There is a lot of talk about cultural diversity today. However, I remind all that no matter our race, color, creed, religion or ethnic background, we are all the same when we go to bank or lender. A well-maintained community benefits us all. Your Association will continue to insist that our high standards be maintained.
Real estate assessments are updated each January to reflect the current market value. This is mandated by state law. I find it interesting that Fairfax County, which benefits greatly from increased income from assessments, is crying poor mouth because of cuts in state programs. Wonder where the additional money went?
If you are living on fixed or are in a lower income bracket, there is a program that may be of benefit. Homeowners can qualify for a reduction in their real estate tax if they meet certain criteria. This program has helped several Rose Hill residents and I urge you to seek information if you think you qualify. Call the Fairfax County Real Estate Office at 703-222-8234
Fairfax County provides real estate tax relief to citizens who are either 65 or older, or permanently and totally disabled and meet the income and asset eligibility requirements. First-time filers have until December 31 of the current tax year to seek relief.
If you have questions about the assessment process or wish to inquire about tax relief, call 703-222-8234 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Or, go to County's web site at www. co.fairfax, va.us and click on the real estate tax pages.
Eye on Crime
We noticed in the latest Community Information Newsletter published by the Franconia District Station of the Fairfax County Police that several Rose Hill residents are active with the Citizen's Advisory Committee. Donna Beaty, the dynamo who keeps the Rose Hill Neighborhood Watch fully staffed, is the CAC's Second Vice Chair. Bev Cherkis is a past chair of the committee and Woody Betts and Norm Cherkis serve on the Chief's Council. Woody is our Neighborhood Watch Coordinator.
In addition to serving as liaisons between the community and the police, the CAC honors members of the Franconia Station staff through its Officer of the Month award. Master Police Officer Tony Janowski was honored in March for his dedication as the School Resource Officer at Key Intermediate. Detectives Aniello Desantis and Scott MacCaskill and PFCs Dave Munoz and Ray Betts were honored in February for their work in apprehending a suspect who was responsible for 15 burglaries in the Springfield area.
The CAC and the Neighborhood Watch are among the major reasons Rose Hill has few incidents of crime. Thanks to all those folks who spend a few hours as part of a schedule provided by Donna Beaty to protect our community. If you have a few hours, and would like to volunteer, give Woody a call at 703-971-0520.
We have come a long way since Bill Came and Joe Beaty first organized the Rose Hill Neighborhood Watch back in 1980. Bill and Joe have gone on to a better vantagepoint from which to protect Rose Hill zone.
Rose Hill Beauties
Between now and the May meeting, we will be selecting the residences who will receive the coveted Rose Hill Beauty awards for 2002. If you would like to help with the judging, or want to nominate a friend or neighbor, please contact any of the officers. If you want to nominate someone anonymously, please drop a note to RHCA, Box 10891, Franconia, VA 22310. Every property nominated last year received an award, so do not be bashful! The committee needs volunteers. You can either join us on our rounds or provide us with your own list, done at your leisure. There are no hard and fast rules because Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! We are looking for residences that are well landscaped and well maintained and have that "curbside appeal," as our friends in the real estate business would say.
Old Pictures, etc.
Jim Sapp has started a new page on our web site (myrosehill.com) that includes old pictures concerning the community. If you have anything that Jim might use, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 703-971-3229. And if you have not visited our web site, please do so. If you need information about the community, the county, the state, schools, there are links to all of them. The Rambler is on line, a membership form in there as well as timely announcements. We are working on a comprehensive history of the community and the land from which it was developed. If you have any information to share, get in touch with me at 703-971-4716.
Thanks to all those listed below who took the time and trouble to respond to our 2002-membership campaign. If your name is not listed, we either made a mistake or you did not respond over the last three months. If we made a mistake, we will be glad to research our records and correct it. If you simply forgot and want to join, we will be glad to accept your check!
Membership dues help the Association pay for printing of the Rambler and the directory, maintain the cell phone for the Neighborhood Watch, cover the costs of the Holiday Lighting and Rose Hill Beauty contests and provide support to several worthy local organizations that have a direct impact on our community.
We are particularly grateful to those who made a donation to the special fund designed to beautify our entrance sign at Rose Hill Drive and Franconia Road twice a year. Given our limited resources, we could not have continued the program without your support.
I was in McDonald's recently when a woman from a neighboring community came up to me and remarked 'you should be proud of your community. It looks great. The overwhelming majority of you members deserve a pat on the back. As for the others, we are still working on them!
Advertising in the Rambler
We have recently received several inquiries concerning advertising in the Rambler. While a listing in the Business Directory is free to Rose Hill residents who own their business, placing an actual advertisement is open to all with rates as follows per month:
Business Card size 3 1/2" x 2" $10 Quarter page size 3 1/2" x 4 3/4" $25 Half page size 7 1/2" x 4 3/4" $50 Full page size 7 1/2" x 9 3/4" $100
Ads may be bought for either one month only, month-to-month, or as many months in advance as desired. Our newsletter is published nine times a year, excluding July, August and December.
Advertising in the Rambler is an excellent way to reach the 700+ homes in our community. In addition, the ads each month are placed on our website. www.myrosehill.com for the world to see.
Anyone interested in placing an ad may call the editor (me) at 703-922-8290. I will need the artwork sent to me either electronically in a .tiff or .jpg format or as a hard copy through the mail. Checks made out to RHCA may be included with ads mailed to me, or sent to our PO Box 10891 for quick access to the treasurer.
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