Join Club

Battle Brewing Over Westover Beer Garden Re-Opening

It’s been a contentious couple of weeks for the Westover Market and Beer Garden. Upon receiving a warning from Arlington County, it suddenly declared the beer garden would shut down until April 1. Today, the saga continues as management has decided to re-open the beer garden against the County’s wishes.

Owner Devin Hicks said he’s tried working with the county on the matter but his efforts have not been successful. Now he’s going to do what he believes Westover Market is entitled to do by law — operate a year-round patio area.

Bob Brosnan, Director of the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, clarifies that Hicks did not receive an actual citation — as stated in a previous article — but rather a courtesy letter requesting compliance. A violation notice will likely be sent out on Monday and Westover Market will have 10 days to bring itself in compliance, or face fines, Brosnan said.

The goal is not to hinder businesses or to collect fines, it’s to keep businesses in compliance with county ordinances, according to Brosnan.

“We’ve been trying to work with them to make them understand how we can work with them legally, that is our goal,” he said. “Our goal in these cases is always compliance.”

Arlington County has developed a web page specifically relating to the beer garden at Westover Market. On the page, it states that establishments with outdoor patios must have ample parking for the number of people being served, but that parking requirement is reduced if the establishment is near a Metro stop. The County allows establishments to get around the parking rule by becoming “seasonal” and closing for three or more months each year.

Because the Westover beer garden isn’t deemed as having enough parking, it’s supposed to be seasonal. However, Hicks points out the rule is technically a “guideline” and not an actual “ordinance.” He believes the county has been enforcing a measure that was never officially put in the books.

The County’s web page for Westover Market links to another County page, titled “Guidelines for Outdoor Cafes.” On that document it states: “Unless otherwise required by the County Board, outdoor cafes shall be exempt from any parking requirement.” It goes on to say: “There is no explicit requirement in the Zoning Ordinance that requires them to be temporary or seasonal.”

Of his long-running trouble with the county, Hicks said relations have improved over the past year or so, but he believes he’s currently being unfairly targeted with the enforcement of the seasonal rule.

“We’re just going to go ahead and do what’s legally right,” Hicks said. “There’s nothing in the rules that says it has to be seasonal.”

Earlier this winter, Hicks had the tables, chairs and bar removed from the beer garden area in an attempt to comply with the county’s zoning enforcers. Still, patrons who bought beverages inside were allowed to take the drinks outside and congregate around the fire pits. Hicks says he was later told that no patrons were allowed in the beer garden regardless of circumstances, and that he would even have to turn the patio lights off at night. That’s when he decided enough was enough. As of today, all seating, televisions and fire pits are back, and an outdoor bar will be operational.

“No one’s winning from this,” said Hicks. “We’re both losing.”

Hicks is careful to note his issue is not with the members of the County Board. It’s strictly a problem with the county’s zoning enforcement.

“This is not reflective of  the County Board,” Hicks said. “The County Board probably has no idea of what’s happening, and probably has no idea of these rules.”

Hicks pointed out that spring officially starts on March 20, as does the kickoff for DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival. Despite the warmer weather and springtime activities, he is upset the beer garden is supposed to remain closed until April.

“We have decorative apple trees, they’re beautiful in the spring,” Hicks said. “But for some reason this April 1 magic number is when we can start the beer garden.”

Brosnan said the County does not have a rule about April 1, the rule is simply to keep a business “seasonal.” Therefore, Westover Market’s beer garden, like other seasonal businesses, should be able to open the first day of spring as long as it had been non-operational for the required three months.

Last year Westover Market received a permit to provide live music starting on April 1. Hicks still plans to stick by the April 1 date for music.

Brosnan pointed out that for Hicks to receive the music permit, he had to review and agree to the County’s rules as laid out in a document called “Zoning Administrator Advice” from November 2010. Hicks had previously agreed to comply, and Brosnan says he isn’t sure what has changed to cause the current state of affairs.

Hicks is now anticipating a fine of some sort for his defiance of the county rules. When asked if he would pay such a fine, he said he’d address that if the time comes. Meanwhile, he and the other employees are focused on business as usual.

“We’re trying to run a business and trying to give people what they want while following rules of county, which we’ve done,” Hicks said.

Brosnan believes the overall fight may be an issue of wording in documents. That, he says, is for lawyers to hash out. Brosnan noted that once Hicks receives a citation for non-compliance, he has the option to appeal.

Photo (top) via Facebook

Recent Stories

An unusual crash blocked lanes on I-66 Friday evening. Three people were hurt, none seriously, in the crash on eastbound I-66 near Patrick Henry Drive, according to the Arlington County…

It’s going to be a windy Saturday. The National Weather Service just issued a Wind Advisory for Arlington and other parts of the D.C. region, in effect until 6 p.m….

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

McLean-based Golden Boot Soccer has been a leader in youth soccer skill development and fun for nearly 30 years, and this summer they’re bringing their popular summer camps back to…

It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

Submit your own Announcement here.

The 3rd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference will feature Thomas Silverstein, renowned Fair Housing expert and Associate Director of the Fair Housing & Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Come hear the latest news about fair housing enforcement, policy, and programs within Arlington County, Virginia, and across the country! Our expert panelists and guest speakers include fair housing advocates, elected officials, and government officials tasked with advancing housing equity at the local, state, and federal level.

Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

We’ll have updates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing federal rule, a panel discussion of fair housing progress at the General Assembly and across Virginia, and a panel of local experts discussing the progress Arlington has made and what remains to be done.
Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Fascination

Goth-Dark Wave Dance Party with Belly Dancing and Drag King Show.

                                         Part of Our

Alternative Thursdays for Alternave People with Alternative Lifestyles

                                      Performances By

Belladonna and the Nightshades

Ya Meena

Drag King - Ken Vegas

DJ Michelle Guided

National Chamber Ensemble – Concerto Celebration

We invite you to join us for an extraordinary evening of music at our Season Finale, “Concerto Celebration”! Enjoy several masterworks as NCE performs two famous concertos in an intimate chamber music setting, opening with a delightful work by Chevalier

×

Subscribe to our mailing list