FOOD for Thought - Arlington’s Study and the Future of Outdoor Dining

FOOD for Thought - Arlington’s Study and the Future of Outdoor Dining
Arlington, VA is on the cutting edge of understanding how urban areas can best use outdoor space to respond to changing populations and modern consumer trends. The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has recently announced a new FOOD Study — Futures of Outdoor Dining — that outlines an ambitious plan for enhancing outdoor dining experiences throughout the county. This study paves the way for public concerts in parks, added bike lanes along restaurant corridors, innovative uses for existing plazas, and much more; ultimately striving to create inviting pedestrian-friendly environments where residents and visitors alike can enjoy local food offerings while increasing foot traffic in our communities. Join us as we look ahead towards what lies ahead with this exciting effort!
 
Hungry for sustainability? Arlington County knows that restaurants are a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating vibrant and engaging mixed-use areas. That's why they've created an exciting initiative called Temporary Outdoor Seating Areas (TOSA), which allows bars, eateries, and cafés to apply for permits to set up outdoor seating in record time. Not only has the TOSA process been wildly popular, but it's also helped restaurants stay afloat during the pandemic by offering more space for diners to safely enjoy tasty meals. Taking notes from TOSAs, this study aims to revamp permanent outdoor café seating rules and improve the entire outdoor café experience. Say goodbye to restrictions and hello to innovation. 
 
This opportunity ends on August 15, 2023, so get in on the al fresco action while you can! Get your caffeine fix in the great outdoors at an approved outdoor café! Set up shop on private property through an easy administrative process or on public property with a 4.1 site plan or use permit. Enjoy your brew with fresh air and scenery – no indoor walls needed.
 
Outdoor seating just got a lot easier with the draft framework designed to simplify the approval process in public and privately-owned spaces. The proposed amendments to Articles 7, 8, 12, and 14 of the Zoning Ordinance will make things much smoother. And that's not all - changes include administrative review processes that streamline the approval process. Get ready to enjoy some fresh air and delightful scenery!
 
#1. Bring on the Sunshine: Get Your Arlington County Outdoor Café License Now!
Are you a café owner looking to make the most of your private property? The new outdoor café framework is just what you need to get ahead! With a brand new Arlington County Code Chapter 70 outdoor café license, you'll be able to customize your space to your heart's content. 
 
Now, you won't have to worry about movable furniture – you get to affix your tables, chairs, bars, and even canopies right into the ground. But hold up – sound and AV equipment won't fly if you’re close to R or RA districts. Don't stress though – with use permit approval you can bring the tunes and fun right to your café! Lastly, parking requirements won't hold you back. If you get that coveted use permit, you'll be able to locate your café on just about any parking space. 
 
#2. Get Ready to Sip in Style at Outdoor Cafés on Sidewalks!
The new framework is here to make outdoor cafés stand out! To serve you better, cafes must secure a fresh new Chapter 70 outdoor café license and situate in front of the restaurant. This ensures a minimum six-foot wide unobstructed clear zone for pedestrians to delightfully stroll. Oh, and if you're wondering about noise, sound and AV equipment will need permit approval if you're located nearby R or RA districts.
 
#3. For Outdoor Cafés in Privately Owned Public Spaces (“POPS”)
Calling all outdoor café enthusiasts! The proposed framework is gearing towards creating a new definition in the Zoning Ordinance that will cover roughly 75 POPS within the County. Don't worry, these POPS may be privately owned but are accessible to the public through easements or licenses. The County is set to release upcoming guidelines on how to secure permits and licenses for POPS cafes, and is even considering a use permit process for their seating areas. Let's get ready to sip some coffee and enjoy the sunshine in these awesome public spaces!
 
Now, you won't have to worry about movable furniture – you get to affix your tables, chairs, bars, and even canopies right into the ground. But hold up – sound and AV equipment won't fly if you’re close to R or RA districts. Don't stress though – with use permit approval you can bring the tunes and fun right to your café! Lastly, parking requirements won't hold you back. If you get that coveted use permit, you'll be able to locate your café on just about any parking space. 
 
Mark your calendars, folks- the draft framework will be presented to the Planning Commission on July 3rd, 2023 and is tentatively scheduled to grace the ears of the County Board on July 15th, 2023. Don't miss out on this insightful glimpse into the future of the region!
 
SCOTT JACOBS
(703) 346-5855
scottjacobsbroker.jacobsandco.com


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JACOBS & CO. REAL ESTATE, LLC.
12923 Fitzwater Dr. Nokesville, VA 20155 
(703) 594-3800 | jacobsandco.com


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