Newsletter of the Rose Hill Civic Association
Rose Hill Civic Association Meeting
Tuesday, October 28, 7pm
John Marshall Library
Topic: County Emergency Assistance Programs
RHCA Officers and Volunteers
Editor, The Rambler
RHCA, P.O. Box 10891, Alexandria, VA 22310
Calls for Emergency Assistance Highlight October 28 Meeting
Everyone knows to call 911 in a life-threatening or criminal emergency. They also are aware of Fairfax County’s non-emergency number of 703.691.2131. What happens when you call 911? Who answers the non-emergency calls and how are they evaluated?
Those are all questions that have been asked by Rose Hill residents in recent months. Lt. Paul Cuzzolino of the Franconia police station will be on hand at our October 28 meeting to explain the process and answer questions. As usual, the meeting begins at 7pm in the community room of the John Marshall Library.
A 23-year veteran with the Fairfax County Police, Lt. Cuzzolino is currently the overnight patrol super-visor at Franconia. He was previously assigned to the Reston, McLean, and Fair Oaks stations. He enjoys speaking to citizen groups. A native of Philadelphia, don’t be surprised if he lapses into comments about the Phillies and the World Series!
Neighborhood Watch Expansion?
In an effort to further protect our citizens, RHCA will discuss an expansion of the Neighborhood Watch program to include community upkeep and a system to provide help for our seniors if they need it. Instead of riding around looking for suspicious activity, members of the Neighborhood Watch will focus on small areas near their homes on a regular basis. It will take more volunteers, but the rewards for all will be huge. Of course, we encourage volunteers to continue to keep an eye on the total community as they travel about. The idea surfaced because we have many residents who already look out for themselves and their neighbors. Why not expand the idea on a community-wide basis? If the membership agrees, we’ll be looking for volunteers to take responsibility for watching a small, specific area. For example, we may ask a volunteer to take the houses in a 100 block on his or her street. We’ll start by assigning the President of the Association the 6600 block of Cottonwood Drive and the Association Vice President the 6400 block of Rose Hill Drive. The current Neighborhood Watch chairman could take Saddle Tree Drive as well as overseeing the program and acting as our liaison with the police. Each volunteer would be charged with keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and zoning or violations that deface our community. Suspicious activity should be reported directly to the police. Individuals can report zoning problems to one of the RHCA officers so that it can be reported in the name of the Association in order to protect the identity of the reporting party. Of course, RHCA will continue to encourage individual reports of any activity that disrupts our community. Most important, the volunteers will make contact with seniors living nearby, providing them with a friend should they need help. We have many, many seniors living alone in Rose Hill and they need to know they are among friends. This could be the most important service RHCA provides the community. Your input to this idea will be appreciated. More important, sign up to be a volunteer in your neighborhood.
In addition to the races for President, Vice President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives, there is a $77 million bond issue for the acquisition of parks or the improvement of existing parks on the ballot on Election Day, November 4, 2008. The Rose Hill precinct will be open from 6am to 7pm at the Rose Hill Elementary School. Of the $77 million, $65 million is for parks operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority and $12 million is to be used to fund the County’s share of capital improvements for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. For example, the nearby Lee District Park, Huntley Meadows Park, and Greendale Golf Course are facilities operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Washington & Old Dominion Bike Trail from Arlington to Purcellville in Loudoun County is run by the regional authority. There are several large regional parks within Fairfax County such as Pohick Bay, Bull Run, and the nearby Cameron Run Park in Alexandria. A successful vote would authorize the Board of Supervisors to sell bonds. Sales historically have been authorized only at times most financially advantageous to the County. Because Fairfax County has an AAA bond rating, one of very few in the entire nation, bonds are sold with a low interest rate. The County maintains its Triple A rating by capping long-term bonded indebtedness at 3 percent of the total value of the market value of taxable real estate and personal property in the County. It also provides that annual debt service be kept below 10 percent of annual combined general fund spending, and bonds sales shall not exceed $275 million per year. Under those guidelines, the proposed bond will have NO effect on the tax rate.
Close to home, the proposal would fund renovations at Lee District Park, Huntley Meadows wetlands restoration and boardwalk replacement, and public accessibility at the Historic Huntley House on Harrison Lane. The County portion of the bond is split among $14.38 million for acquisition, $19.23 million for park development, $11.52 million for facility development, $19.74 million for renovations, and $11.64 million for stewardship projects such as those at Huntley Meadows and Huntley House.
Franconia History Day
The Franconia Museum will present its 6th annual History Day on Saturday, November 8, from 10am to 3pm at Franconia Elementary School. Admission is FREE. The school is located on the corner of Franconia Road and Beulah Street. The program will be held in the gymnasium, which is located in the rear of the school and is accessed off Kathmoor Drive. From Rose Hill, take Franconia Road to Beulah Street, left on Beulah, and left on Kathmoor directly across from the fire department. Displays, artifacts, and discussion on life in Franconia, including Rose Hill, are on the program, which also includes entertainment and food service. RHCA members will be serving bean soup and corn bread with all proceeds going to the Museum. We have a volunteer chef to prepare the bean soup. However, we need corn bread. If you have a recipe and can make some corn bread to help in the effort, please give Carl Sell a call at 703.971.4716.
Don’t forget, Rose Hill is featured in Volume IV of Franconia Remembers, a series of books that focuses on Franconia’s past. The price is $30. The book will be on sale at History Day. It would make a nice Christmas present for family and friends. To learn more about the Franconia Museum, go to franconiamuseum.org on the web.
As you may have read, County Executive Tony Griffin has ordered cost savings for the second half of the current fiscal year, including a one-day furlough for County employees and a halt to hiring, capital spending, travel, and vehicle replacement. Falling revenues from such areas as sales taxes, business taxes, and recordation of new and resale houses are blamed for the deficit. He also is asking the Board of Supervisors to approve a $20-$30 million withdrawal from the County’s rainy day fund in order to close the widening gap. And that’s just to keep the County afloat until next July. At present, the budget shortfall for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2009, is expected to be $500 million. That will mean additional deep cuts, a substantial tax increase, or a combination of the two. This year, Fairfax County has a 3.3 billion budget, more than half of which goes to schools. RHCA is participating in a budget group put together by Supervisor McKay to advise the County on possible alternatives. Since each penny on the tax rates produces about $21 million, the math will tell you just how much an increase would be needed to stay even. Since that isn’t likely to pass muster, cuts will have to be identified. Our suggestions are invited. After the reassessment of real estate in 2009, which should produce a further decline, everyone will have a better idea of just how deep a hole we are in. We’ll have time to address this dilemma at meetings in early 2009. Be prepared for a major effort from various supporters of County agencies to resist deep cuts. New construction of County facilities or purchase of new equipment will be the exception rather than the rule.
Zoning Ordinance Changes
The Board of Supervisors has scheduled a public hearing for Monday, November 17, 2008, on a proposal to criminalize violations when they reach $5,000 and shorten the appeal time from 30 to 10 days for various violations. The hearing is tentatively set to begin at 5pm in the Board hearing room of the County headquarters, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. The proposals are in response to changes adopted by the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year. In Virginia, localities have only those powers specifically granted to them by the General Assembly. The proposal allows zoning violations for which civil penalties total $5,000 to be prosecuted as criminal misdemeanors. Additionally, the proposal would lower the appeal period from 30 days to 10 days for a variety of offense, including overcrowding. RHCA has pointed out that it would take 100 days for a violation to reach criminal status should a new violation be issued every 10 days. A civil penalty of $200 may be imposed for the first violation and subsequent violations of the same issue shall be punishable civil fine of $500. When those figures added up to $5,000, the criminal prosecution would kick in.
At present, most cases involving zoning violations are brought to Circuit Court by filing Complaints for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief. Although lengthy, those cases are effective. Civil penalties are filed in District Court. They can result in the payment of fines but no guarantee of compliance. Making violations a criminal misdemeanor could provide a further disincentive to violation of the zoning ordinance.
RHCA has supported criminal penalties for all zoning violations. That way a fine could be assessed immediately, just like speeding on Rose Hill Drive! In addition to overcrowding, the issues for which the appeal period would be reduced from 30 to 10 days include parking of inoperable motor vehicles that are not kept in a completely enclose building or screened or shielded from view, parking of commercial vehicles in residential districts, parking of vehicles on an unpaved area in the front yards of a single family dwelling in the R-1, R-2, R-3 (Rose Hill) and R-4 Districts, erection of prohibited signs on private property, and erection, alteration, refacing, or relocation of signs on private property without a sign permit. Any of those sound familiar? RHCA will testify in favor of the amendments and urge the Commonwealth and the County to further criminalize zoning violations so that fines can be assessed just like traffic violations.
Telegraph Road Update
The Virginia Department of Transportation will unveil a proposal to widen Telegraph Road from Beulah Street to South Kings Highway at an information meeting on Thursday, October 30. The meeting will be held at 7pm at Hayfield High School. Those planning to attend are requested to use entrance 9 at the rear of the school. Use Old Telegraph Road to access entrance 9. The preliminary project proposal is to widen Telegraph Road from two lanes to four lanes with a curbed median, sidewalk, trail, and on-road bicycle lanes. Phase 1 of the project runs from Beulah Street to 0.4 miles south of Hayfield Road. Phase 2 runs from that point all the way to South Kings Highway. Phase 1 will include the intersection of the new road being built to connect Telegraph Road to U.S. Route 1 north of Fort Belvoir. That connection is being funded by the federal government as part of the increase in development at Fort Belvoir under the Base Realignment and Closure program. Although survey work is ongoing, there are no proposals as yet to widen Telegraph north of South Kings Highway. RHCA is on record as opposing a design with medians because the medians will impede access northbound for residents who front on Telegraph Road. If you plan to attend the October 30 hearing, pay particular attention to how communities without median breaks and traffic lights will be able to travel in the opposite direction. We will have to deal with that issue in the future.
Help To Serve and Protect Fairfax County
As the Fairfax County Police Department Auxiliary Police Officer Program (APO) celebrates 25 years of service, police encourage residents to consider joining this dynamic team of devoted volunteers. Volunteers bring a wide variety of life experiences to the APO program, such as; law, military, public relations, clergy members, home-makers, teachers and students. These diverse skills and talents are tailored to police department duties and needs, as well as to the interest of the volunteers. The roles and responsibilities of APOs are significant: they serve programs and events that are critical to protecting and fostering public safety in Fairfax County. Assisting officers at weekly sobriety checkpoints, supporting community training programs such as Sexual Assault Free and Empowered (SAFE), role-playing at the Fairfax Criminal Justice Academy, conducting home security surveys and taking fingerprints at community events are just are few examples where volunteers are needed throughout the police department. Auxiliary officers are provided training, uniforms, and all necessary equipment. Officers will be expected to perform an average of 24 hours of volunteer service each month. Applicants must be in good health, without a criminal record or history of drug use and not be an applicant for police officer in any jurisdiction. Help make your community a safer place to work and live. Make your spare time matter. Consider becoming an APO today. To learn more about the APO program or to sign up to begin the application process, call 703.280.0701.
Personal Safety Tips for Shopping
Avoid shopping alone. Traveling in groups of two or more significantly reduces your chance of becoming a victim of crime. Be especially alert when leaving stores or shopping malls for your vehicle. This is a time when criminals know you are carrying cash, checkbooks, credit cards or other valuables. Trust your instincts. If you have an intuitive feeling something is wrong, trust your instincts. React immediately and take action. Many individuals suppress these feelings, because they fear their response will offend someone. React to your instincts and don't worry about someone else's feelings. If someone approaches you and you feel uncomfortable, move or ask for assistance. Stand tall and display confidence. Walk with purpose, scan the area around you and make casual eye contact with others to display confidence. Carry a cellular phone. Avoid wearing excessive jewelry. In particular, keep necklaces and bracelets inside you clothing Shop before dark and always park in well-lighted areas. Make sure all doors and windows are locked in your vehicle. Do not keep packages in plain view in your vehicle. Don't carry large sums of cash. If you do carry cash, do not display it in public or count cash in open areas. Have keys in hand before returning to the vehicle. Searching through a purse or briefcase after you've reached your car means you are distracted. As you approach the car, check to see if anyone is hiding underneath or inside. If you are concerned for any reason, simply walk past your car and call for help Lock your door immediately upon entering the vehicle. Make this your first action-even before you put the key in the ignition. And lock your door every time you get into your car-even if you are going for only a short ride. Check your surroundings before getting out of your car. If something or someone strikes you as out of place or threatening, drive away. If it's dark, go to a well lighted, heavily traveled area. Report any suspicious activity or person immediately to the Fairfax County Police Department at (703)691.2131. For more information about these and other personal safety tips or to request a presentation from the Crime Prevention Unit please contact MPO A. E. Eggers, Franconia District Station, (703)922.8263 or email at Alice.Eggers@fairfaxcounty.gov.
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"
Quarter page size
3 1/2" x 4 3/4"
Half page size
7 1/2" x 4 3/4"
Full page size
7 1/2" x 9 3/4"
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 703.910.6316. 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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