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.

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, which have been revised since the work session, 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. Both the permanent outdoor dining and annual off-street parking dining also would require permits with the submission of a to-scale drawing showing any proposed seating and improvements.

Scheduled 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

Link to materials - to be posted one week prior to meeting

Registration for Meeting Participation via Zoom


(those who wish to speak at the public hearings may also attend in person at Town Hall)