Hickory Farms

July 2020 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Bill Berg (Farm House Ln)

Interested in Joining a Board Meeting?

Due to the pandemic and social distancing, HFCA Board meetings are on Zoom. Please contact a HFCA Board member for more information.

Join Our Listserv

There’s no better way to stay in touch than through our Hickory Farms email listserv. Visit hickoryfarms.org and click "Hickory Farms Listserv” on left and follow the instructions.

Community Yard Sale Planned

- Pete Scala

It’s early yet . . . but not too early to start thinking about what you want to sell! Get together with your neighbors to have a fun morning! This is a good deal for you!

We NEED a yard sale. Of course, if COVID-19 response takes a turn for the worse, then plans will change. But for right now, we’re looking at holding our annual yard sale this fall. We will expect everyone to observe the social distancing rules that are in effect at that time. Pete Scala will run it. The date will be announced in a later newsletter. As always, we run it on a Saturday from 8 am to noon.

As in past years, HFCA does the advertising, posts signs, and distributes maps showing yard sale locations (but not names). Because we usually have many families participating, we always get a much better customer turnout than single family or 2 or 3 family yard sales.

The way it works is; that Saturday morning you put out your items for sale in your front yard, and shoppers use the map we provide to go to participating houses.

In order to cover costs, a nominal charge is required for people participating. When the date is selected, you can call or email Pete Scala (703) 764-0730 or scalapr@verizon.net to sign up.

Important Information From Our Water Company

- Kirk Randall

Burke Station Rd 4306
Cotton Farm Rd 9998 10000 10002 10003 10004 10005 10006 10007 10008 10009 10010 10011 10012 10013 10014 10015 10017 10019 10020 10021 10022 10023 10024 10025
Country Squire Ln 4286 4289 4291 4293 4295 4296 4297 4298
Farm House Ln 4313 4314 4315 4316 4317 4318 4319 4320 4321 4322 4323 4324 4325 4326 4327 4333 4334 4335 4336 4337 4338 4339 4340 4341 4342 4343 4344 4345 4347 4349 4351 4352 4353 4355 4357
Spinning Wheel Ct 10110 10111 10112 10113 10114 10115 10116 10117 10118 10119 10120 10121 10122
Still Meadow Rd 4320 4322 4323 4324 4325 4327 4328 4329 4330 4331 4332 4333 4334 4335
Wheatfield Ct 10022 10023 10025 10027 10028 10029 10030 10031

Is your address one of these? If so, you should have received a letter in June from Fairfax Water
notifying you that you will need to have a pressure relief valve (PRV) attached to your main water line.

A new, larger, water tank is being erected at George Mason University, across the street from the Green Acres Center on Sideburn Road. This video shows the “bowl lift” of the new water tank in April 2020.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bjq1xQvUX7Q&feature=youtu.be and here is an aerial image taken right before the bowl lift https://goo.gl/maps/bD1V5cUi3A7LzTP98 There is still a lot of work to be done, but the project is on schedule for the tank to go into service by the end of the year.

The engineers at Fairfax Water tell me that a larger tank will deliver water at a higher pressure than before. Indeed, the water pressure may be too high for some of our homes. If your water pressure is too high, Fairfax Water would like you to install, by September 1, a PRV on your water line to reduce the pres-sure. They have calculated which homes in in the surrounding community may experience excessive water pressure when the new tank begins service, and which homes will not. Of the nearly 1,800 homes affected in our area, 103 are in Hickory Farms. One hundred and three letters have already been mailed to the affected homeowners. If a property has a different mailing address on record with Fairfax County for say, an absentee landlord, the letter was mailed to that address.

If you don’t already have a PRV, Fairfax Water will reimburse you for the installation of one by a licensed and insured plumber. If you are eligible for the reimbursement program and submit the proper documentation, Fairfax Water will reimburse you up to $500 towards the cost of the PRV and installation. This offer applies only to homeowners who received letters from Fairfax Water.

Please note that if you already have a PRV on your water line, Fairfax Water will not reimburse you for a new one or pay to have the existing PRV checked or repaired. Some of our homes already have PRVs which could be decades old, so it might not be a bad idea to have it checked out by a plumber.

If you recall getting a letter from Fairfax Water but have misplaced it, please visit www.fairfaxwater.org/utankprv

Independence Day

Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain, King George III, and were now united, free, and independent states. The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4th.

If you choose to fly your flag, it should not be tattered, dirty, faded, or ripped. If you hang your flag, the union (the blue area with the stars) should be at the top left as you view it.

You can read more on flag etiquette at https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4/chapter-1

Are You Paying Too Much for Trash Service?

Some neighbors have complained about how much they are being charged for once a week trash, recycling, and yard debris service. I surveyed folks on the Listserv and received five responses for Republic Services/AAA customers and eight from American Disposal customers. Here are the results of this small survey for quarterly (three months) service:

  Republic/AAA American
Highest Price $134 $99
Lowest Price $91 $84
Average Price $112 $89

Considering these results, you may ask your trash company to reduce your rate or if they refuse, switch to their competitor. American Disposal 703-368-0500 Republic Services/AAA 703-818-8222. Unfortunately, these are the only companies who service Hickory Farms.

Attention All Golfers!

You may soon be prohibited from golfing in our common areas.

In late 2018, a number of residents became concerned that an alarming number of golf balls land in yards that face the lower and upper Common Areas. Indeed, some struck balls barely missed striking homes. In addition to property damage, errant balls are a danger to children playing in back yards as well as pedestrians. In the January 2019 Newsletter, the Board noted that we do not currently have a prohibition against hitting golf balls in our Common Areas, but we may resort to banning the practice if golfers don’t golf more carefully.

  • Golf activity shall avoid people, personal property, and Common Area fixtures such as birdhouses and benches.
  • Golf activity shall be limited to short-distance chipping and putting only.
  • No driving of golf balls allowed.
  • Any divots must be replaced.
  • All golf balls must be recovered.
  • Child golfers must be accompanied by an adult.

Our Common Areas are to be used by residents and their guests only. If you encounter a golfing nonresi-dent who is not accompanied by a Hickory Farms resident, please direct them to the Four Seasons Golf Center at 11501 Braddock Rd, 703- 278-0350.

Fairfax County prohibits dangerous golfing behavior in its parks (See Virginia Code section 15.2-5704(17) §1.04). Likewise, it is sensible that our park-like Common Areas be safe areas for property and people alike.

If golfers can’t police themselves, then the Board of Directors may 1) establish rules against the striking of golf balls in the Common Areas, and/or 2) post “No Golfing” signs in the Common Areas.

Active Fairfax Transportation Plan

- Bob Cosgriff

As Braddock District Supervisor Walkinshaw’s appointee to the Fairfax County Trails, Sidewalks and Bikeways Committee, one of my responsibilities is to provide information to citizens about issues relating to non-motorized transportation options, that is, walking, biking, and horseback riding, within Fairfax County.

Over the years, the County has developed both a Trails Plan and a Bicycling Master Plan to guide efforts in planning, constructing, and maintaining a robust infrastructure to allow citizens to have recreational opportunities as well as commuting alternatives. Unfortunately, the County developed around a traffic-centric model before these plans were created, which makes it very difficult in many cases to provide for new trails and bikeways.

To update these documents to reflect Best Management Practices and to ensure that planning efforts for pedestrians, equestrians, and cyclists are aligned with the County’s Comprehensive Plan and new Strategic Plan, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs office is developing the Active Fairfax Transportation Plan. This will combine the existing Trails Plan and Bicycle Master Plan into one comprehensive document to guide County planning and budgeting well into the future. Presently, the County is finalizing contract details with a consulting firm. Once that is done, there will be a process that will include community outreach to help guide the details of the Plan to reflect citizen priorities. This outreach will be via surveys (mail or online) and also by community meetings held around the county. Given the restrictions of the current pandemic, the in-person portions will probably be somewhat delayed into 2021.

There is a wealth of information on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs website at (https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/transportation/bike-walk) where you can find links to helpful tools such as an interactive bike map. There are links to helpful forms such as a “Walkway Maintenance Request” which is used to report a problem with a County-owned walkway or to determine maintenance responsibility for a sidewalk, trail, or pedestrian bridge. Most of the trails within Fairfax County are owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, which is responsible for construction and maintenance of these assets. The “Trail Buddy” site (https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/trails/trail-buddy) provides a comprehensive, interactive guide to all trails and sidewalks in the County. VDOT is responsible for sidewalks along state roads, which include streets in subdivisions (unless privately owned). VDOT has its own website for reporting sidewalk issues at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/.

The Trails, Sidewalks and Bikeways Committee deals with many issues. We receive regular staff briefings on such things as the County’s Bikeshare Program, highway construction that involves trails (such as the I-66 Outside-the-Beltway mega-project or the Route 1 Corridor EMBARK project), and even the use of e-scooters within the County. We directly advise the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors on priority issues, and appointees from the magisterial districts interact with their supervisor and staff on issues. One of our current “hot topics” is that of pedestrian safety. In 2020 through March, there had been eight pedestrian fatalities (compared to 19 in all of 2019). In fact, for the last two years, pedestrian deaths outnumbered homicides! These are disturbing statistics. I am sure you have noticed, as I have, the dramatic increase in the number of people out walking and biking in the neighborhood and in the immediate areas. People are flocking to streets and parks to “get out of the house” during the coronavirus Phase Zero. There is every reason to believe that this trend will continue as Fairfax County moves to Phase I and Phase II. So with the increase in such use, there is concern that there will be even more pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities. The committee will be discussing ways to reverse this unfortunate trend at our next meeting, tentatively scheduled online for Wednesday, 10 June, at 7:00 p.m. Committee meetings are the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Government Center, and like all County meetings are open to the public (including online meetings).

If you have any questions about pedestrian or bicycling issues, please let me know and I can work to get you an answer.

Northern Path Walk Through Checks Asphalt Path Erosion Conditions

On Saturday, May 30th, a walk through was conducted to check on the impact of water runoff on the Northern Path. Three challenges were suggested for attention. First challenge is eliminating bare dirt areas alongside the asphalt path from Roberts Road to its end behind Country Squire. Possible quick fixes include reducing mowing immediately next to the path to let the ground cover grow back and prevent runoff from hitting the sides of the path. Second challenge, if nothing grows back naturally, is to potentially plant native, non-invasive plants in hard to regrow dirt spots. Third challenge is a significant runoff area at the end of the path just before it enters Rabbit Run. At the very end of the asphalt path (as seen in the pictures), water has washed away the dirt on the sides of the path exposing both the original asphalt path and the overlay asphalt that was placed as a top layer in 1997. Goals would be to prevent water from getting into the asphalt and causing cracking over the winter as well as reducing the "step" down from the path to the dirt. Several options for next steps were discussed and will be further reviewed by the CAC and HF Board.

Any neighbors interested in the Northern Path or any of our 20+ acres of Common Areas, please send an email to cac@hickoryfarms.org to join current volunteers supporting our community! New volunteers always welcome! send an email to cac@hickoryfarms.org to join current volunteers supporting our community! New volunteers always welcome!

Birds of Hickory Farms

- Bob Cosgriff

Spring migration follow-up: When I submitted the June article, we had seen 68 birds in our backyard. Subsequently, we spotted two more species: Canada Warbler and Magnolia Warbler. This was the third-ever sighting for both birds. Our final total through 31 May was 70 species overall, and 16 warbler species, both backyard one-year records.

Bluebird trail update: After losing two broods of five eggs in one case, five hatchlings in the other, I am happy to report that we have two boxes in the upper common grounds with active nests, one with five eggs (due to hatch as this goes to the editor) and one with three eggs. Also, Melissa and Jarrett Stark have a nest in their yard abutting the common grounds with five eggs in it. I am adding that to our trail as box #11. If these nesting attempts are all successful, that will give us an average total for the year, with enough time for one more breeding attempt.

Other birds: It appears that we might have a nesting pair of Great-crested Flycatchers in the upper common grounds. Elsewhere, we are seeing young Gray Catbirds, Northern Cardinals, and Carolina Wrens around the neighborhood. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are in evidence.

Pink Strings Around Trees - Tree Remediation Efforts

If you walk the Hickory Farms common areas, you will notice a lot of pink strings around trees. These are trees that are currently being inspected by professional tree companies to remove dead limbs (to prolong the life of the tree and provide a safer play/walking area) or remove trees whose life has unfortunately come to an end. The tree proposal will be reviewed by the BOD and remediation efforts should be completed by the end of July. Please stay connected through Nextdoor or the Listserv for exact dates.

Mulching the Upper Commons Meadow Volunteer Event on 6.13.20

On June 13th, the Commons Area Committee (CAC) held a “mulching the meadow” event to help define the path and showcase the beautiful perennial native flowers planted in 2019. A total of 20 yards of commercial wood chips and double shredded hardwood mulch was moved in 2 hours and 15 minutes by 19 volunteers. This volunteer event saved the Common Areas budget $858.35 by not hiring professionals.

Outstanding team work, hardworking volunteers and 2 pick ups driven by Bob Cosgriff and Doug Win-ters helped make this event run super smooth and fast! Please take some time to check out the Upper Commons Meadow and if your path crosses a neighbor listed below, please stop and thank them for their contribution in making our common areas beautiful!

Jim Bever, Debbi Buchanan, Claire Coleman, L.T. Trieu, Bill Berg, Bryan Crabtree, Rich Dudley, Jack Li, Carlie Mensen, Bob and Judy Cosgrif, Doug Winters, Barret & Tracy Schloerke, Jarrett and Melissa Stark.

Children volunteers: Elizabeth, Tyler and Caiden

Fall 2020-2021 Restoration Tree & Shrub Planting

After much research and neighbor input, the CAC is excited to present in July’s BOD meeting a planting proposal that will install up to 50 larger native trees, over 60 native shrubs and additional native perennial understory starting in fall 2020 through 2021. This planting proposal will be for the restoration of the following areas: Upper Commons - Woodland and Meadow, Upper Commons - Boxwood Grove, Upper Commons - Redbud Grove, Lower Commons – Crabtree Island, Lower Commons – Main Island and the Northern Path.

In July 2017, the Upper Commons – Woodlands, Meadow and Crabtree Island were engulfed nearly 2 acres of bamboo and invasive vines, etc. that were smothering and killing the original native trees. In the following years, the CAC has target treated bamboo and vine regrowth. As we stand now, the bamboo is substantially eradicated and the area is now ready to be safely replenished with larger trees and shrubs at a larger scale than our previous 2019 planting.

A majority of the restoration proposal will be planted by Area Landscaping, Inc. Area Landscaping is a local Fairfax, VA company that is able to get native trees and shrub directly from the nurseries. With this proposal, the trees and shrubs will be professionally planted with the correct soil amendments, initial first watering and mulch dressing. These trees and shrubs will be guaranteed their first year of life.

I would like to note that we could not have gotten to this stage without volunteers who have put forth their valuable time and effort to pull vines, pick weeds and small invasive underbrush, move mulch, cut and remove small dead trees, provide “free” natives from their gardens or non-Hickory Farms neighbors gardens and plant our meadows and initial first tree planting. All of these volunteer efforts have saved the common areas budget money and allowed us to do more with our budget and help subsidize part of this planting.

Hickory Farms Asphalt Roads in Need of Repaving

- Bruce Bernhardt

The condition of the Hickory Farms asphalt roads is beginning to show the wear and tear of 44 years of regular use. Luckily, we do not have "tank" size potholes to deal with! However, a closer look at just about every street in Hickory Farms reveals many cracks and multiple spots near the curbs and street water inlets where the asphalt is failing.

Following a conversation with Braddock Supervisor Walkinshaw's office, we learned, that in cooperation with Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Braddock District has been on a multi-year project to repave entire neighborhoods instead of one street here and one street there. Over 80% of the plan will have been completed when the current fiscal year (2019-2020) ends on June 30, 2020. Hickory Farms is in the final phase of the plan and should be scheduled either next fiscal year (July 2020 - June 2021) or the year after (July 2021 - June 2022).

The above schedule is subject to potential changes due to the impacts of COVID-19. State and County revenues have been down and reserve funds have been used to fill the gap for this fiscal year and next. Both state and county are adjusting Operating Budgets in order to cover highest priority activities. The repaving plan may be extended if more pressing State, Fairfax County and Braddock District priorities are identified.

The Hickory Farms Board of Directors will keep checking in with the Supervisor's Office every few months to show our strong interest in getting this work done for our neighborhood. Repaved streets will add even more value to our already treasured neighborhood!

Student Yellow Pages

If you offer services such as raking leaves, lawn mowing, babysitting, general home maintenance, dog walking, tutoring, etc., please email kirk_randall@hotmail.com to be included.

Bridgette Buchanan (16) 703-307-7323 Babysitting and dog sitting
Britney Mulliner (17) 571-474-7277 Babysitting and dog sitting
Cody Dempster (17) 703-776-0101 Yard work, snow shoveling, housework
Dominic Cannata (17) 703-568-9896 Lawn mowing, shovel snow, cleaning, mulching
Dylan Mehrman (17) 478-230-5066 Lawn mowing
Erika Maaseide (17) 703-659-5321 Babysitting; Special Needs experienced
Kent Codding (18) 703-317-7319 Shovel snow, yard work, leaf raking
Paul Cannata (18) 786-445-5318 Lawn mowing, shovel snow, cleaning, mulching
Xavier Gilmer (15) 703-862-2192 Shovel snow; lawn mowing
Jaden Singh (17) 703-278-8800 Math tutoring, snow shoveling
George Codding (14) 703-223-4101 Snow shovel, yard work, leaf raking