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Board Approves Limited Live Music at Westover Beer Garden

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2011 at 5:00 am 4,525 159 Comments

There will be concerts at Westover Market’s beer garden (5863 Washington Boulevard) this summer, after all, thanks to a unanimous vote by the County Board to approve a rare outdoor live entertainment permit — with some strict conditions.

Westover Market manager Devin Hicks has agreed to abide by 14 conditions, which were laid out by county staff in response to the concerns of residents who own homes near the beer garden. (Initially, staff recommended against the permit, but were instructed by the Board to come up with conditions more acceptable to concerned neighbors.)

The conditions include:

  • Live entertainment will take place only on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., on Fridays from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Music will be acoustic only — no amplifiers allowed, at least initially (see below)
  • The decibel level from the performances will not exceed 60 decibels before 9:00 p.m. and 55 decibels after 9:00 p.m. — which is consistent with the county’s residential noise control ordinance
  • Maximum capacity at the beer garden during live events will be 98
  • Performers will face Washington Boulevard, not the residential neighborhood behind the beer garden
  • Patrons and performers will be prohibited from dancing, unless the Market applies for and obtains a Dance Hall Permit
  • Westover Market will designate a “neighborhood liaison” to handle noise complaints
  • The Market will hire an acoustical expert to develop a “sound management plan”
  • The performances will be subject to random compliance checks by county staff
  • Live entertainment will only be performed between April 1 and October 31

As a show of good faith, Hicks also agreed to not use “piped in” or recorded music (e.g., a radio) in the beer garden on nights when there’s no live music, even though he would be permitted by right to do so. He will also voluntarily set up a live web cam that will display a decibel meter for residents to review.

The conditional live entertainment permit will be reviewed by staff in September. At that time, if the county determines that “the owner has complied with all conditions… to that point,” the beer garden may be granted approval for amplified music. The permit will come up for County Board review in February 2012.

“The Board is striving for a balance here that will both allow limited live entertainment outdoors at this neighborhood restaurant and protect the surrounding neighborhood,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. “In the coming months, we will be monitoring the situation carefully.”

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  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    “The applicant agrees that there shall be no dancing by patrons or performers unless and until the applicant has applied for and obtained a Dance Hall Permit.”

    The first song I would crank up, if I were them, is Footloose by Kenny Loggins. How utterly ridiculous.

    • P.C.B.

      No dancing… What a joke!

      • dynaroo

        It’s a normal restriction. Happens everywhere.

        • Burger

          right, because the parents that make up a good portion of the clientele would turn the Market into Heaven and Hell in DC.

          What a complete joke.

          • dynaroo

            So you’re saying there’s no need to restrict dancing because nobody will dance anyway?

            In that case, there’s no need to complain about the restriction anyway, huh?

            In any even, I think the county is right to be concerned – it’s not like Devin hasn’t pushed the rules to the limit. He just might open a dance hall next.

        • Clarendon

          It is in Virginia, but still that doesn’t mean it’s not a joke. But, it does make for interesting conversation when I show out of towners the Whitlow’s “No Dancing” signs which they put in in the 90′s after they were unable to obtain a dancing permit. The thing I didn’t get in that case is that the board at the time linked dancing to more drinking – isn’t playing pool more conducive to more to drinking than dancing ?

          They really need the webcam to monitor the toddlers that may be lured into rhythmic gyrations by the evil music.

          • dynaroo

            Dancing is regulated in DC too. I’ve seen dancing couples in bars told to sit down.

          • NauckNeighbor

            You’re right. DC is actually very strict about dancing permits. I was at JR’s which doesn’t have a permit and I’m sorry but a bunch of gay men aren’t going to stand still when they have Madonna belting out over the loudspeakers. Needless to say we were kicked out, but that didn’t stop us from dancing in the streets!

        • NomNom

          I imagine the kind of dancing going on at the beer gardern would be locals swaying back and forth and parent’s playing with their kids. I highly doubt the county was trying to prohibit that kind of dancing. I believe the county is trying to prohibit booty dancing and people are reading into like the county is trying to outlaw fun. It is not that big of a deal.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            ok. You’ve now blurred the line. Where do you draw the line? Do you need to prove you are a local resident before you can sway your hips? Or, like back in Elvis’ day, is swaying your booty frowned upon and possibly a crime?

          • Bluemontsince1961

            I can’t resist re-posting my earlier post…

            http://www.metrolyrics.com/shake-your-booty-lyrics-kc-and-the-sunshine-band.html

            AahEverybody, get on the floor, let’s dance!
            Don’t fight the feelin’, give yourself a chance!

            Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
            Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
            Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
            Shake your booty! Shake your booty.

            Aah, You can, you can do it very well.
            You’re the best in the world, I can tell.

            Oh, Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
            Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
            Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
            Shake your booty! Shake your booty.
            (WoWohoo,Yeah!)
            Shake shake, shake shake!

            Aah, Shake shake, shake shake!
            Aah, Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
            Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
            Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
            Shake your booty! Shake your booty.

            Aah, Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
            Aah, don’t fight the feeling.
            Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
            Aah, give yourself a chane.
            Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
            You can do it! do it!
            Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
            (Come home with momma now!)
            Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
            WoooHOOOOHoooo!
            Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
            Aah, BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
            Shake shake(come on), shake shake(come on), on your booty!
            Aah! do your duty. Aah haa!
            [Fade out:] Shake shake(come on), shake shake(come on), on your booty!
            Reply

          • Josh S

            I strongly doubt the county was trying to prohibit booty dancing. That’s something for high school vice principals to worry about.

            It is a big deal because a restriction on dancing is, on its face, ridiculous. How do you define “dancing?” No toe tapping? What if I’m standing and moving to the music but my feet never leave the ground? Also, leaving all of that aside, what’s the harm to society? It’s kind of hard to slam dance to an acoustic set.

            It’s positively 17th century.

    • Clarendon

      Here’s another nomination for a first song – with Jimmy Page

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0tAOIQiz-8

      • Vital Idol

        What if I’m Dancing with Myself? oh oh oh oh

  • The Native

    Further women will be required to kneel down and if the hem of their skirt does not touch the floor they will be refused entrance…

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    God forbid one of the six-year old kids breaks out into a shuffle. Call the cops!

  • Thomas

    John Lithgow will be coming on board to help enforce the rules.

  • FedUp

    This is ridiculous! Condition number 8 says “Live entertainment shall not be amplified…” and “The applicant agrees that Westover Market shall provide the amplification equipment, including speakers, mixing board and any equipment that controls volume. Volume shall always be controlled
    by a Westover Market employee.”

    So which is it? If I were the owner, I would pack up and move the business. To Falls Church or Fairfax.

  • yequalsy

    Seems like a reasonable compromise. I know the dancing bit seems silly, though Arlington’s not exactly unique in requiring separate dance-hall permits. If they want dancing then apply for a permit.

  • Marge

    Holy Ad Hoc Conditions! I guess that’s what happens when you don’t really have a mechanism in place for evaluating this type of application and you have to cover your butt with a cram session over the weekend.

    He has to send all kinds of reports out every month, getting proof of receipt from the neighborhood (registered mail or notarized signature forms, I guess). Same with providing the contact number for the liaison and getting proof everyone received it.

    And hire an acoustical engineer to monitor the setup, who will also be the one doing random unannounced inspections of the sound levels at the property lines.

    Jeez.

    • Burger

      Hey, Zimmerman said his goal in 2011 was to be more business friendly. That means lots of business that wouldn’t survive but for government regulations and rules.

      It seems perfectly consistent to have over the top regulations and requirements like:

      Performers will face Washington Boulevard, not the residential neighborhood behind the beer garden
      Patrons and performers will be prohibited from dancing, unless the Market applies for and obtains a Dance Hall Permit
      Westover Market will designate a “neighborhood liaison” to handle noise complaints
      The Market will hire an acoustical expert to develop a “sound management plan”
      The performances will be subject to random compliance checks by county staff

      that’s at least 4-5 jobs right there that didn’t exist…oh, wait, why did all the food and drink at the Beer Garden jump by 25%?

      • dynaroo

        Performers face Wash. Blvd. to reduce the sound reaching the homes in the other direction. Perfectly reasonable.

        Dancing is forbidden at ALL places that have no dance hall permit. Nothing unusual about that – you just didn’t know it until now.

        No, it’s not 4-5 jobs either.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          dynaroo=zimmerman

        • Stu Pendus

          You misspelled verboten.

          • Aaron

            I lol’ed.

        • Josh S

          Whether or not it is unusual is beside the point. It’s still silly. “Before a person is allowed to stand up and move to the music in your establishment, we must say it’s OK.”
          Who are these people, the Puritan Eunuch’s Society?

          What’s not unusual is to be loved by you

          • dynaroo

            If it was about being Puritan, they would just ban dancing in the County instead of regulating it.

            The regulations were probably put in place due to complaints about noise, drunks, traffic, etc. around dance halls and worries about fire safety. There have been many tragic fires nationwide where lots of people were killed in dance halls without proper fire safety measures because they couldn’t all get out in time. Google “Cocoanut Grove.”

            I don’t know if dance regulation makes any sense. I’m just saying it’s not unusual or unique to Arlington County or the beer garden.

          • Burger

            wow, how’s China today. I find your argument pretty ironic given your numerous claims of “slippery slope” argument last week.

            As the relative a person that was at the Coconut Grove the night it burned down, I am very familiar with it. Of course, the biggest issue that night was the fact some doors were locked which wouldn’t exactly be an issue at the Beer Garden.

            And, if you had been to the Beer Garden, which would require you to actually walk away from the internet, you’d see how silly your argument sounds. And most of the “dance” hall special regulations could be accomplished via normal regulations or, is your position that people in bars do not need as much fire safety as those in dance halls.

  • Arlingtonian

    I suspect none of the comments are from the neighbors. I’ve seen how “conditions” are enforced. They are often ignored and it takes years to get anything done about it.

  • Lacey Forest

    No dancing, because we know what that leads to.

    • Arlingtron

      oh my!

    • http://ggwash.org/michaelp Michael Perkins

      Must leave room for the Holy Ghost

    • JamesE

      booty grinding?

      • Derp

        Holla!

        • V Dizzle

          Hola!

      • Bluemontsince1961

        http://www.metrolyrics.com/shake-your-booty-lyrics-kc-and-the-sunshine-band.html

        AahEverybody, get on the floor, let’s dance!
        Don’t fight the feelin’, give yourself a chance!

        Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
        Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
        Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
        Shake your booty! Shake your booty.

        Aah, You can, you can do it very well.
        You’re the best in the world, I can tell.

        Oh, Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
        Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
        Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
        Shake your booty! Shake your booty.
        (WoWohoo,Yeah!)
        Shake shake, shake shake!

        Aah, Shake shake, shake shake!
        Aah, Shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
        Shake your booty! Shake your booty!
        Oh, shake shake shake, shake shake shake,
        Shake your booty! Shake your booty.

        Aah, Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
        Aah, don’t fight the feeling.
        Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
        Aah, give yourself a chane.
        Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
        You can do it! do it!
        Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
        (Come home with momma now!)
        Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
        WoooHOOOOHoooo!
        Shake shake, shake shake, shake your booty!
        Aah, BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
        Shake shake(come on), shake shake(come on), on your booty!
        Aah! do your duty. Aah haa!
        [Fade out:] Shake shake(come on), shake shake(come on), on your booty!

        • fredterp

          FREDTERP

    • comedian

      Q: Why don’t Baptists go to orgies?

      A: There might be dancing.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        :-)

  • FedUp

    Ridiculous! If I were the owner, I would pack up and move the business to a friendlier place. Like the City of Falls Church or Fairfax County.

    • dynaroo

      Will the ridiculous comments never cease?

      This has nothing to do with the county, and everything to do with the specific location. A food market that wanted to have live music every weekend in Falls Church or Fairfax City right next to a residential area would likely face the same scrutiny.

      And so much for all the whiners talking about how restrictive the Board is – it ignored the staff recommendation to deny music altogether.

      • Burger

        Kettle meet pot.

        • dynaroo

          Um, no.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        Can’t say I’m whining about the Board here. They at least allowed the music. What is absurd is the ban on dancing. Everybody go footloose! Yeah!

        • dynaroo

          Dancing is banned in LOTS of places. You had no idea. Now that you know, you’re complaining. Yet it never seemed to bother you before.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            No. I’m saying it bothers me here, primarily because of the typical clients.

            Give me a list of where dancing is a crime.

          • dynaroo

            I repeat, you must have a permit to allow dancing in Arlington (and MANY other places). Any place that doesn’t have a permit that allows dancing can lose its license to operate.

            http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/CountyBoard/CountyCode/file74538.pdf

            The reasons are the same as for other business regulation – to control noise, crowds, parking, etc. — and also for fire safety.

            If you didn’t know that, now you do. If you don’t like it, by all means, go to the County Board and tell them to repeal this ordinance.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            So what if a flash mob shows up at the beer garden, and breaks into a finely coreographed dance routine? Would they lose their license? Same is true if one of those 6-year olds starts dancing and bumps into a gumpy patrons beer hand. Lose license?

            Having a dance ordinance only controls dance. Controlling the crowd is done by permitting the establishment for only so many people. That’s one of the fire and safety regulations. Dancing is not. As for noise, I don’t make any noise when I sway my hips to some music that is playing at the approved levels. Ordinance or not, it is absurd.

      • HC Carey

        Yes, well put

      • cheryl hightower

        that is due to the overwhelming support by four local associations and over 1500 signatures on a petition, testimony from locals in support of the WBG.
        Who is whining??

    • TomInArl

      Kinda wish they would. The grocery store is subpar.

  • Steve

    At least they take noise seriously. I wish they would set decibel limits indoors instead of me having to act like an adult and avoiding places that are too loud, like with smoking for other people.

    I do wonder what those neighbors will be thinking about the altered flightcourse to DCA due to runway construction. That’s probably going to be louder than any music during those hours.

  • QPGirl

    The only people I have ever seen dance here are all under the age of six. How exactly are you going to enforce that? Parents bring the little ones here just so they can work off some energy. What a silly condition, but otherwise great news for Westover and the neighborhood.

    • dynaroo

      Dancing is forbidden at many music venues and bars. Go try to dance at The Birchmere, you’ll be told to sit down. It’s a normal restriction. Sounds silly, and maybe it is silly, but it’s not the least bit unusual.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        Yes, but patrons have paid for a ticket to see an act. Sitting in a beer garden is nowhere close to the same comparison.

        • dynaroo

          Right – it makes even MORE sense to forbid dancing at a beer garden.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            God forbid a six-year old bumps into you and causes you to spill some of that $9 glass of swill.

          • dynaroo

            Hey, I don’t mind a little dancing. I just object to the silly idea that regulating which venues can have dancing is a new idea, or unique to Arlington.

          • NoVapologist

            Just because a stupid rule has been around for a long time doesn’t make it any less stupid.
            Just because other jurisdictions have the same stupid rule doesn’t make it any less stupid.

          • dynaroo

            I never once said it wasn’t stupid, just that it’s not a case of Arlington being different from other jurisdictions, i.e. it’s not Arlington being overbearing or anti-business. Nor is Arlington treating the beer garden any differently from other businesses. I thought the post above explained that but apparently not.

  • dynaroo

    I’ve noticed a pattern here. Lots of commenters seem to think local government is simple, and its not. Now you know.

  • Bob

    it’s pathetic this poor guy had to go through all of this just to be able to have live music. god forbid the Westover homeowners worry about something other than how some acoustic music will bring down their property values. Losers. I’ll never move there

    • dynaroo

      How dare they care about their property values.

      Oh, and having loud music every single weekend pumped into their neighborhood – losers!

      Seriously, I am thrilled that there is music allowed and I love the beer garden, but get real. If you lived there and had to get up and work or keep small children asleep you’d complain too and you know it. By all means, don’t move there – go live next to a live music venue.

    • Shane

      Hicks is no innocent in this. He blew off the County regulations from the beginning, operating without a permit. He deserves each and every restriction, given how he flouted the ordinances last summer.

      • Larchmont

        Yep, I wish he would have got the live music permit first. I’m a beer garden with live music supporter and think he/we could have avoided a big mess had he followed the rules. We’ll see if he learned his lesson when he builds his rooftop bar.

    • Larchmont

      Good thing. We don’t want you at the beer garden either.

    • y8s

      You are very distinctly on one side or the other.

      I live there
      I support the music
      I support my home value increasing over time

      What part of that makes me a loser?

    • Burger

      Of course, if he didn’t essentially switch his business model he would have been bankrupted and the Westover homeowners would be staring at a boarded up building. Similar to what those in Williamsburg sees at the old 7/11.

  • Pug Mugman

    I’m doing the Charleston in the middle of the beer garden the second it opens.

    • dynaroo

      Don’t fall into a fire pit.

      • Pug Mugman

        Don’t worry, they’d need to get another permit for that. Flames no more than 2 ft high and no hotter than 700 degrees.

        • dynaroo

          And yet they don’t need a permit for the fire pits, do they?

          It’s so easy to whine about restrictions, but you and many of the posters here benefit from them every day and just never noticed them until now.

          • LBSKi

            I have yet to meet someone who benefited from a dancing restriction. But, I’d love to hear their story if I did.

          • PhilL

            I only go on dates to places with very strict dancing restrictions. The strictest. That’s a benefit in my self-interest.

    • Clarendon

      You won’t get in any trouble, but if a neighbor records a video clip of you and posts it to youtube, the Garden can have its permits revoked. “The Charleston” is a recognized dance so it would be easy to convict, but I wonder what the definition of ‘dance’ is that used by code enforcement. Maybe if you are bit more subtle and do some kind of Frankenstein footstomp in an arythmic manner, you might get away with it.

      • dynaroo

        Nobody’s going to lose their permit over someone breaking out in dance on Youtube.

        If they consistently tolerate people dancing for more than a few seconds at a time, then they might get in trouble.

        • Clarendon

          Does the ordinance specify a minimum period of rythmic movement to define dancing – “a few seconds”?

          If not, then what does define dancing ? Or is it completely up to the discretion of the code enforcement official ? Local government is hard, but one would think that an ordinance that is expected to be complied with can be defined to some extent. How is dancing defined ?

          • PhilL

            From the County website:

            What is the difference between a live entertainment use permit and a dance hall permit?

            A dance hall permit is obtained and issued through the Zoning Office, to allow patrons to dance on the premises in return for payment. Live entertainment, allows the applicant to provide performances, either live or recorded. Performances could include, but are not limited to, music, dance, and comedic acts.

            They seem to be operating in some sort of 1940′s mindset.

          • Clarendon

            Yes, a regulation born in another era for sure. But still, it doesn’t define “dancing” (realizing this isn’t the actual ordinance). And, seems to imply that the permit is issued in cases where payment is collected for dancing (is that the case here?). My problem with the dance thing is that I really don’t think the intent today is to regulate little kids shuffling their feet to music. The need for a dance hall permit is used more as a stick. In this case, the owner may not really want people to be dancing (he’d rather they be eating and drinking) and dancing is not what attracts people there in the first place but the fact that people spontaneously moving in a rythmic manner can put at risk his other permits means he has to run around telling everyone to sit still. That may be an exageration, but in general, it just sets up an awkward situation.

          • dynaroo

            This is similar to regulations that distinguish between a restaurant and a carry-out place. Different food safety regs apply in that case, and they have to draw the line somewhere, even if it seems silly. So if you go to a bakery or place like that without a restaurant permit, and they give you a sample to eat, you can eat it there – but only if you don’t sit down. Sounds dumb, but it’s there to prevent carry-out places from cheating and becoming a de facto restaurant without getting the right permits.

          • Clarendon

            I believe what you are talking about is regulated by the provision of seats (e.g. chairs). An inspecter can go in and determine if there are seats being provided by the establishment by counting them. That is how the line is enforced. So, what is the line with dancing? How does a business owner and the code enforcement person determine if a person is dancing ?

            Also, the text above quoted from the county website implies that the dance permit only applies if the owner is charging people for entry into the dance hall…

            “A dance hall permit is obtained and issued through the Zoning Office, to allow patrons to dance on the premises in return for payment. “

          • Clarendon

            http://leg1.state.va.us/000/cod/15.2-912.3.HTM

            For the purposes of this section, “public dance hall” means any place open to the general public where dancing is permitted; however, a restaurant located in any city licensed under § 4.1-210 to serve food and beverages having a dance floor with an area not exceeding 10 percent of the total floor area of the establishment shall not be considered a public dance hall.

            Any locality may by ordinance regulate public dance halls in such locality, and prescribe punishment for violation of such ordinance not to exceed that prescribed for a Class 3 misdemeanor.

          • Clarendon

            I meant to add a comment to the above post. I believe, given the “Dillon Rule” that the above is the authority for localities to enforce dance regulation. If the Westover Garden is considered a restaurant and they were to mark off an area that was less than 10% of their total floor area and designate it as the “dance floor” then they would not need a permit. However, since they entered into conditions that exlicity say that they will prohibit dancing without a dance hal permit, this may not apply. Any lawyers care to correct my analysis ?

          • dynaroo

            Yeah, looks right to me. But I’m not a lawyer.

            What’s 10% of the beer garden – something like 9 square feet? Enough for several wiggling toddlers.

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      I’m gonna do the little jig at about the 3 minute mark in this clip.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tqxzWdKKu8

    • HC Carey

      Great idea! Then you can give someone an excuse to have the permit revoked, and they’ll have to close it down. Is that what you want?

  • Stu Pendus

    Someone needs to inform “freaky Karaoke dancin girl” at Rock Bottom Brewery about this no dancing nonsense.

    • CW2

      C’mon, that’s half of the entertainment!

  • Arlingtron

    Glad to see that a few whiney neighbors can’t stop a project that most agree with.

    • Arlwhenever

      Of course, the majority should always be able to override the right of any minority to quiet enjoyment of their property and home. That’s the collectivist thug way. Enjoy!

      • y8s

        Music for most

        Earplugs for whiners

        That’s compromise!

    • dynaroo

      I’m going to open a dance hall next door to you. A large majority will vote for it because they can come dance and then go home, far from the noise. Have fun sleeping, whiney!

      • nonagon

        If you don’t live here, you may not realize what a good thing this is for the neighborhood, and for beer and music lovers in general. The Beer Garden will comply with the decibel restrictions. What’s your complaint?

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    So, what’s the violation for dancing? Ticket? Misdemeanor? They better lock up the first six year old that breaks into a jig when some Journey cover song gets played.

    • dynaroo

      The management has to police it – just like anything else, such as liquor violations or noise.

      If they fail to do so, they could lose their license to operate.

      This is perfectly normal and common procedure in most states in the Union.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        Thank you Obi-Wan. It is perfectly normal.

        What about the states in the Confederacy, which Virginia is one? (Since we are using Civil War terms….)

        • dynaroo

          “Union” is hardly just a Civil War term. You’ve never heard the term “the states of the Union” used in a context after 1865? Really?

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            It still refers to the Civil War, regardless.

        • chickenswantbeer

          Virginia is a Commonwealth…….. just sayin’

  • Ren McCormack

    No dancing?!

    Looks like I’m needed again, this time in Arlington.

    Everyone is this town still goes to one church, right? And they all happily stare at each other when something good goes their way?

    I’m going to need a nearby warehouse to let off some steam…

  • Just the Facts

    All the above witty comments (and awesome Footloose references!) aside, this is what makes Arlington the place I’ve lived in for 23 years and am raising my son in. Any other suburban jurisdiction would have just said NO. No (substantive) discussion, no compromise, no way, no how.

    Arlington came with a solution, albeit somewhat convoluted and silly sounding, that gives nearly all stakeholders much of what they wanted. Thank God we’re not in the all-or-nothing political game being played at the national level. Local government rules!

    • dynaroo

      Yep. Contrary to all the wailing on this thread, it’s more likely that another jurisdiction would have not even considered this, rather eagerly allowing it without restrictions.

    • Burger

      Please. This comment is absurd. Arlington isn’t any more special than most other locations. I’d wager almost all jurisditions in this country, facing budget deficits, would act i na similar manner to ensure sales tax reciepts continue to flow into county coffers or not act to the detriment of their tax revenue.

  • Dan

    “So, what’s the violation for dancing?”

    They have to attend the next twenty county board meetings !!!

  • Rich

    How has no one brought up the “cannot be louder than 60dBs”???

    Go look up a dB chart, just having a large group of people would probably push them over 60dB.

    • dynaroo

      Depends on how far away you measure.

    • derp

      that’s very true. Grey noise in the area is probably close to 40. add in some conversation and it won’t be hard to exceed 60 – which honestly isn’t very loud and most importantly it’s how the sound is carried that matters. But hey, the county board members & staff are experts in everything so they have my full trust and support.

      • dynaroo

        This is just a restatement of the existing noise ordinance, which is based on careful consideration of all these factors and includes all the details. The Board isn’t making this up as they go along.

        So many people here basing their opinions on nothing more than what little they read in an article on a blog and just assuming the rest.

      • Clarendude

        According to this chart, normal conversation at 3-5 feet is 60-70 dB.

        http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html

        They must mean at the property line which is how many feet away ?

  • Brendan

    The dancing thing is absurd, as with a lot of the seemingly arbitrary rules.

    Going to be interesting to see how one plays an acoustic guitar for 98 people with no amplifier. Even playing for half that requires some instrument amplification and a vocal mic.

    • V Dizzle

      Nothing but trumpets for the first month.

    • dynaroo

      The dancing rule is not abritrary. It is consistent with existing permit rules regulating dancing establishments. Just because you had no idea doesn’t change that, it just means you’re learning something.

      • derp

        I didn’t know we lived in a county of footwashin’ baptists.

        is card playing also strictly prohibited?

        • PhilL

          Ironically, if they held the dances for religious purposes they would not need the dance hall permit.

        • dynaroo

          We don’t. Our dance regulations aren’t much different from the rest of the country.

          • Dan

            “Our dance regulations ”

            Is that the “editorial we” or this this an admission that you are an Arlington County employee ??

            Are you in some way reimbursed to post here ??

          • dynaroo

            Editorial we. “Our” means we, the people of Arlington. No, not a county employee nor paid to post. Wish I were though, I’d be rich, wouldn’t I?

          • SA resident

            Yep, he works for the government.

          • dynaroo

            Nope.

        • yequalsy

          Hey back off, cowboy, my granny was a Primitive Baptist. I’ve strayed very far from my Baptist upbringing but even to this day I feel a bit guilty playing cards. I guess that’s why I still prefer 42, not that very many folks in Virginia know how to play 42.

  • Skeptical

    Once again, I’m amazed at the way a person who wants peace and quiet in his or her own home — freedom from noise that is “fun” for others but obnoxious to the homeowner — is characterized as a “whiner.”

    People bought homes near a business district expecting to hear a few cars come and go and perhaps some trailers of late night conversation as people left a restaurant — no with the expectation of being exposed to rhythmic noise and party sounds for hours at a time, while sitting in their own yards or living rooms.

    I’ve been a patron of several Westover businesses for years and often parked on the residential streets. The first time I saw the beer garden open and operating, with people spilling out on to the sidewalk of the shopping strip and making (at that time, amplified) noise that penetrated the window of the Thai restaurant across the road, where I’d gone to enjoy a meal, I said “God, that’s annoying!” I can’t imagine being asked to live next to it. We’re talking about houses that people bought — not a hotel room where you can pack up and leave in an hour or even an apartment where you can break the lease and move for an absorbable loss.

    Perhaps everyone who feels that regulation is excessive, or that only a killjoy would ask for silence in his own home, needs to move into a dorm at one of the local colleges, or an apartment overlooking M street.

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      It is kind of like buying a home near a major road or airport. At some point in your tenure there, you should expect someone is going to want to expand something. That’s what happens. Don’t buy next to a highway, airport, or other potential future noise increase source.

      If you lived in a field and someone came in and put in a music venue, then you’d have something to be very mad at. Part of the whining going on should be directed at yourself. (But, admittingly, not all.)

      • yequalsy

        I see this sort of argument misused so much. It would be one thing to move next to an airport and then start to whine about the airport noise or whine about the ICC being built next to your house when it’s been on the books for decades. It’s another thing altogether to already live somewhere and have someone push through a marked and unexpected departure from the status quo. We can disagree about what constitutes a marked or unexpected change but in my view opening a outdoor bar and music venue is a pretty big change from anything seen or expected in that neighborhood. Local residents (I’m not) have every right to voice concern and even opposition to a marked change in their neighborhood. There’s a limit. You don’t want a situation where neighborhoods, let alone a few dissident neighbors, veto everything. But you also don’t want to give businesses and developers carte blanche to do whatever they want. You need a balance. You need a process to reach that balance. That process is called politics and it worked pretty darn well in this case.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          Well, could be. It’s not like they just rezoned a residential area to commercial and stuck up that shopping plaza. It has been there for quite longer than most of those residents I’m sure. Certainly there is merit to debate what can go into that plaza, but if you bought near it you had to expect there would be change and may have even embraced it until the notes started flowing. Sometimes you get more than you ask for.

          • PhilL

            Well, they made a point to explain at the meeting that Westover is a C-1 district, the lowest density retail/commercial category, and that they are specifically found in the county within single-family home areas. They also pointed out that no other outdoor live entertainment permits have ever been granted in C-1 districts because of their proximity to homes, and acknowledged that disturbances from the sound is what they are trying to protect the homeowners from.

            I do not recall if they said they had denied other similar applications in C-1 districts.

            So that is the starting point for evaluating this type of use. Then you get into the whole “majority rule” vs “minority rights” conflict, and that is what the government is supposed to mediate. I think they did OK in this case, although it seems a bit heavy on the bureaucratic layering.

            I agree though that the whole “you should have expected it” argument is beyond trite in almost all cases you see it used.

        • TooEasy

          BS like Luna Park did not have crappy music and the bum who lived at the corner was soo good.

      • dynaroo

        That’s true, OB, up to a point. But it could also be an excuse to abolish all regulations whatsoever. After all, it’s only a matter of time before someone builds a giant stadium and oil refinery next door to your house, so why stop it now?

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          A stadium and music at a beer garden are a world apart, so I am not sure how applicable your example is. Then again, there are townhomes next to FedEx…not sure which was there first.

      • John Fontain

        OB, I hope you aren’t really trying to make the argument that someone who bought a house next to a grocery store (which is what the Market was) should reasonably expect that grocery store to turn into a live music venue/bar.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          Not necessarily. But, you did buy near a commercial center which is expected to have some turnover and some business changes. While I agree the residents have the right to oppose any change, having change come as a surprise to them is not a leg to stand on.

      • Skeptical

        “Whining?” Let’s run this choice by again.

        Explain to me exactly why it is more important for people to gather in a beer garden, socialize and make noise (when there are plenty of other places in the county for them to go), than it is for someone to NOT be made miserable by that noise in their own homes, which they may have owned for many years with the reasonable expectation that local noise and disruption would rarely exceed a certain limit? I would say that if anyone is whining, it’s the people who are not getting to party as hearty as they would like and damn anyone else’s boundaries, health or feelings.

        Lovely lesson for the children that are supposedly such a good reason to tolerate this “fun.”

        Residential zones near a small strip of shops are not highway or airport neighborhoods. By your argument, the only safe place to live is actually in a field somewhere.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          I’m not so sure safety has anything to do with the argument. Maybe the only quiet place is a field somewhere, but then you have to deal with owls, frogs, and foxes. It may not be the quiet of a secluded suburban street. Then again, it is also likely a more stable noise environment than if I’d bought next to an existing commercial zone.

    • cheryl hightower

      your description is such an exaggeration, difficult to take seriously. The area that surrounds the nearby houses is a busy commercial area that anyone would realize would be subject to change as businesses come and go.

  • chris

    I plan to dance.

  • Steve

    Since it’s a Biergarten, will they be playing German oompah music? I really doubt the neighbors would object to that and people dancing the polka, though that would repell the arlihipsters and arlidouches from going there, which I would approve of.

  • ARL

    Dynaroo do you do anything except refresh this Arlnow website browser all day? People are entitled to their opinions. I have never been to this beer garden, but I will go now to support it and help it enforce these ridiculous rules. Go beer!

    • dynaroo

      “People are entitled to their opinions.”

      Yep.

  • Chris

    My acoustic death metal band will be practicing hard for this.

    • Tenacious D

      Hey, that’s our thing!

  • Southeast Jerome

    I’ve been gone from the postings for a while but felt like I had to chime in here….. the neighborhood demographics of Westover and the likely attendees to the beer garden likely are horrible dancers anyway, who cares?

    My only concern is related to the beer price, selection, etc available. Are these extra restrictions going to become a problem for the WOM cashflow and impact the reason why it is so good?

  • yequalsy

    As some have noted, there’s nothing particularly extraordinary about Arlington’s dancing regs. That said, to me the big problem with dancing regs are that they aren’t enforced consistently. They’re exactly the sort of reg that lend themselves to selective enforcement. Selective enforcement can be capricious and arbitrary. I used to live in a college town where the police were notorious for enforcing open-container laws in the black neighborhoods but not the white ones and I worked in a bar in Texas once where the only time the cops ever said boo about the dancing ordinance was after we carded (and refused to serve) a cop’s wife. It’s gotcha law. Enforce it consistently or drop it.

    • Clarendon

      I think you are correct. The dancing thing is used as a stick or a threat. I honestly don’t think even the Virginia Statute that authorizes regulation of “dance halls” was about the regulation of dancing per se. It seems to be more assuming that a “dance hall” might be a large use that attracts a lot of people out to cohort and such (like the big barn dance) and therefore can be regulated. This is why the law explicitly exempts 10% of the GFA of a restaurant from needing a dance permit at all (something the Arlington implementation doesn’t mention but I think it must apply – Dillon Rule and all). The application of the regulation authority as some sort of prohibition on any dancing-like behavior is a perversion of the law and is what opens Arlington up to ridicule (rightfully IMO). Having said that, I don’t know of any case where an owner was actually cited by the County for illegal dancing by a few patrons. But, I do believe the observation of dance-like behavior in certain places without a dance permit was used by people who wanted the county to deny or more strictly regulate certain other permits (like hours of live music etc). The people didn’t really care about the dancing, but about the noise from the live music but could use the dancing of a few patrons to argue that the owner was disregarding county law.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    What disappoints me – is when did we turn into a community of 15year olds that are only concerned with our own fun? The immediate neighborhood voted 90-6(approx) to say the WBG could have cart blanc. What ever happened to supporting your neighbor – those most directly affected and worrying about the quality of life of those who bear the brunt of the effect -seems selfish to me?

    • PhilL

      Granted the “15year olds” comment is a bit of hyperbole, but I will say this: the testimony given at the board meeting would indicate there is a generational gap between those supporting and those opposed to the application.

      Not shocking, I know. But you could start there if you wanted to think about what neighbors care about their other neighbor’s concerns.

  • JimPB

    I welcome the County Board’s decision to “go” with the overwhelming number of those who have voiced an opinion in favor of live, local entertainment (singing) and for community engagement.

    But:
    Regulation. Regulation. Regulation. Too much regulation. Too much government intrusion.

    A first question should be: When should government be involved?
    Public health — OK.
    Safety — OK?
    For what else is there a compelling reason for government involvement?

    • doodly

      You don’t think controlling noise in a residential area is a compelling government function?

      • TooEasy

        They should peek in windows also, who knows what kind of law breaking could be going on.

        • Skeptical

          If you have to peek in people’s windows to find out what law they’re breaking I don’t care. They’re not disrupting my life, so let em do anything that doesn’t hurt children, animals or non-consenting adults.

          • dynaroo

            What’s your address, Skeptical? I’ll be right over to peek in.

  • http://wanderinghat.com Kyle

    Arlington sucks.

  • Meow

    Are these guys dancing while playing? And what about juggling ?

    http://www.youtube.com/user/evilchildmeow?blend=3&ob=5

  • dynaroo2

    This is ridiculous.

    • dynaroo3

      No, it’s not – you are

      • dynaroo4

        It doesn’t matter – I have the most number of posts on the site – they should rename it in my honor – WINNER. . . not

  • TGEoA

    So is this one of those places where you are drinking some suds and some a-hole tells you to mind your language because their crotch fruit is nearby?

    • Larchmont

      Yep, kinda like any other place.

    • dynaroo

      Civility sucks, doesn’t it TGEoA? Next they’ll want you to slow down in their neighborhoods so you don’t kill their kids. Outrageous!

  • Glib

    I’m surprised they don’t include the requirement that patrons must use indoor voices only. And dogs at the event should not be allowed to bark!

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    Since there are children there, let’s ban the dogs.

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