Outdoor Dining


On June 1, 2020, the Vienna Town Council approved an emergency ordinance to permit temporary waivers for outdoor commercial activity, specifically to assist businesses that were adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic.

Town Council approved several extensions, with the final extension on June 7, 2021, which is expired on Dec. 7, 2021. The emergency ordinance could not be extended past Dec. 30, 2021, six-months past when the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State of Emergency expired.

Twenty-two restaurants received approval for temporary outdoor dining. Of those 22 restaurants, 13 utilized off-street parking spaces for outdoor dining space. Staff observed a total of 58 off-street parking spaces being utilized.

The Town Council voted on December 6, 2021 to approve text amendments that allow restaurants with temporary outdoor dining permits to continue operating under the permits until June 30, 2022.

Town Council and the Planning Commission held a joint public hearing on May 11, 2022 to review proposed code amendments related to outdoor dining. The final code amendment was adopted by Town Council on June 6, 2022.

Code Amendment

The full code amendment adopted on June 6, 2022 may be viewed here: https://library.municode.com/va/vienna/ordinances/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=1154003

The code amendment was effective June 18, 2022, 10 days after the amendment was posted publicly in the newspaper.

Establishments with temporary outdoor dining permits must apply for a permit within sixty days of the effective date of the ordinance.

The following is a summary of the changes included in the amended regulations, please refer to adopted code language for full regulations:

  • added general provisions to all outdoor dining including references to other required approvals including site plan control provisions, fire marshal, and building code official

  • added references in the general provisions to the Town's noise ordinance and that amplified sound, including music, is not permitted outdoors without a conditional use permit

  • allow up to 12 seats outdoor to be approved administratively by staff with compliance of the general provisions

  • restrict outdoor dining locations to not be permitted within 60 feet from residentially zoned and utilized properties

  • added conditions to outdoor dining located between 60 to 75 feet from residentially zoned and utilized properties including:

- May not serve alcohol outside.

- May not have servers outside.

- May have no more than 8 seats.

- Hours of operation ending at 7 pm

  • added review criteria for the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals to utilize when considering conditional use permits for more than 12 outdoor seats including noise, light, parking, and protections from vehicles

  • allow annual approval of seasonal outdoor dining in off-street parking spaces from April 1 to October 31 with additional regulations (see adopted ordinance).

Past Meetings

November 3, 2021 - 6 pm

Planning Commission Public Hearing (Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of proposed ordinance as presented to Town Council)

Link to materials - https://vienna-va.legistar.com/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=23358&GUID=4A3C71F0-972F-4A16-97B8-5CCE0D95ECB9

November 4, 2021 - 7:30 pm

Planning Commission Public Hearing (cancelled since public hearing was closed at November 3, 2021 meeting)

Link to materials - https://vienna-va.legistar.com/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=23358&GUID=4A3C71F0-972F-4A16-97B8-5CCE0D95ECB9

November 15, 2021 - 8:00 pm

Town Council Public Hearing (Town Council voted to close the public hearing and further discuss the proposed ordinance at the December 6 Town Council meeting. Town Council will hold a conference session prior to the December 6th meeting on November 30, 2021. Town Council also voted to extend the emergency ordinance allowing outdoor dining to December 31, 2021)

Link to materials - https://vienna-va.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5209526&GUID=9563161F-A63A-4EC4-9367-27EF0CAE1D9A&Options=&Search=

November 30, 2021 - 7:00 pm

Town Council Conference Session (please be aware that the public is not allowed to speak at conference sessions)

Link to materials - https://vienna-va.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5256178&GUID=DF3099F4-B9D3-414E-9AAD-9E1CB29BA1DC&Options=&Search=

December 6, 2021 - 8:00 pm

Town Council Regular Meeting (Town Council voted to approve a text amendment that allows restaurants with temporary permits for outdoor dining to continue operating under permits until June 30, 2022, with a few conditions)

Link to materials - https://vienna-va.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5338889&GUID=86F2CF8E-3131-4A12-859A-1557D60A9C89&Options=&Search=

May 11, 2022 - 7:30 pm

Joint Public Hearing with Planning Commission and Town Council

Link to materials - https://vienna-va.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5641613&GUID=10ADDAB2-46BC-4F9B-89D8-9A0670A844D2&Options=&Search=

June 6, 2022 - 8:00 pm

Town Council Meeting (Intent to Adopt Text Amendments Related to Outdoor Dining in Sections 18-72, 18-74, and 18-210)

Link to materials - https://vienna-va.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5666145&GUID=307FC4D0-2AF4-48A8-8A4C-644D9164B43C&Options=&Search=