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.
Since then, the Town Council has approved several extensions, including the most recent extension on June 7, 2021, which is set to expire on Dec. 7, 2021. The emergency ordinance cannot be extended past Dec. 30, 2021, six-months past when the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State of Emergency expired.
Twenty-two restaurants have received approval for temporary outdoor dining. Of those 22 restaurants, 13 are currently utilizing off-street parking spaces for outdoor dining space. Staff recently observed a total of 58 off-street parking spaces being utilized.
Normally, the Town Code requires a conditional use permit for outdoor dining, per Section 18-72 and Section 18-210. This requires a review by the Planning Commission and a decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals. A $1,500 fee is also associated with a conditional use permit. Per the current zoning ordinance, off-street parking spaces also cannot be utilized for outdoor dining.
In lieu of the conditional use permit process, and as a permanent replacement for a simplified and more streamlined process to allow for outdoor dining, staff has proposed language modifying Section 18-72 and Section 18-210. The Planning Commission held a work session on October 13, 2021 to discuss the proposed text amendments.
The proposed text amendments would allow for outdoor dining with administrative review and allow for dining within parking spaces, with conditions, such as a limit on the number of parking spaces allowed to be utilized for dining. Under the proposed ordinance, restaurants located within buildings developed under the Church Street Vision, would also be allowed to seek the use of additional parking spaces, with the approval of Town Council. All structures, features, and furnishings for both permanent outdoor dining and off-street parking dining would also be subject to review by the Board of Architectural Review.
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. The Town Council also included the following conditions:
Outdoor dining located within 60 feet of a residentially zoned property utilized for residential uses may only be occupied during the following times:
Sunday - 10:00 am to 9:00 pm,
Monday through Thursday - 9:00 am to 9:00 pm,
Friday - 9:00 am to 9:30 pm, and
Saturday - 10:00 am to 9:30 pm.
If off-street parking spaces are being utilized for outdoor dining, no more than 8 seats are allowed per parking space. Seats and tables must be located within designated parking space(s).
Applicants will acknowledge that they will comply with the the noise ordinances set forth in Section 10-20.1 and Section 10-44 of the Town Code.
Town Council will continue discussing outdoor dining through June 2022.
Restaurants interested in renewing their existing Temporary Outdoor Commercial Activity Permit should visit www.viennava.gov/outdoordining for more information.
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)
November 4, 2021 - 7:30 pm
Planning Commission Public Hearing (cancelled since public hearing was closed at November 3, 2021 meeting)
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)
November 30, 2021 - 7:00 pm
Town Council Conference Session (please be aware that the public is not allowed to speak at conference sessions)
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)