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William Jeffrey’s Tavern Tries Again for Outdoor Seating

by Katie Pyzyk July 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm 2,817 49 Comments

After having the issue deferred at a previous County Board meeting, William Jeffrey’s Tavern (2301 Columbia Pike) is trying again for more outdoor seating.

Previously, there had been concerns with the restaurant’s outdoor seating along South Adams Street complying with requirements in the Americans with Disbilities Act. That led to the board deferring the issue in April, to allow county staff to work with the restaurant on solutions. At its meeting in May, the County Board approved 18 seats along the restaurant’s Columbia Pike frontage.

The current request involves adding 40 seats near the restaurant, 36 along South Adams Street and four along Columbia Pike. The restaurant has proposed constructing a removable platform to account for the grade change there. Some tables and chairs would be placed on the platform. Handicap accessible seating would be added on the Columbia Pike side.

The restaurant agrees to keep a six foot wide clearance on the sidewalk, and to remove all furniture, including the platform, seasonally.

County staff recommends approval of the outdoor seating plan at the County Board meeting on Saturday, July 21.

  • The Dope of South Arlington

    You might get stabbed sittin’ outside on the Pike.

    • John K

      This isn’t exactly the violentest block on Columbia Pike… My question is why would anyone want to have outdoor seating along the Pike? Perhaps if they hadn’t so thoroughly killed that set-back…

      • Jim

        You might as well ask why city restaurants have outdoor seating, what with all the traffic, pollution, birds, and bums.

        • John K.

          Now…. I haven’t broken out the measuring tape, but most places I can think of – I think – have bigger setbacks from the traffic so the noise and fumes have a better chance for dispersing. Birds and bums… well, it be’s like that sometimes. I’m not up in arms about outdoor seating… I just don’t get it for this location.

      • CA

        The Columbia Pike part of the sidewalk is pretty crowded as it is – especially considering it’s legal to ride bikes on the sidewalk – so I imagine it will only be a matter of time before a biker or pedestrian collides with a diner. Which would actually be pretty amusing, I must admit.

        PS: That part of the Pike isn’t exactly dangerous. Unless you are afraid of yuppies.

        • Kat

          Don’t forget, CaBi is coming to the Pike, too. CaBi riders are guaranteed to rid eon the sidewalk.

          • John K.

            Actually, there seems to be (an awfully annoying) upswing of bicyclists on the Pike. It really add a certain @#[email protected]#$, I mean… je ne sais quoi to the commute. I imagine/fear pods bikeshare riders of semi-leisurely tooling down the Pike at 6pm.

          • WeiQiang

            CaBi vs. Trolley … the next great epic horror conflict flick.

            I hear you. Between the scooter folks on 50 and 395 and the cyclists [the ones who seems oblivious to rules of the road] on Columbia Pike and Wilson/Clarendon Blvds … and the drivers [also oblivious to the rules of the road] who agressively dust them, I don’t think we’ve even seen the opening act to the Feces Festival on the roads.

  • AL

    Interesting–I had no idea they were trying to get outdoor seating. I can’t imagine this is going to be very safe. This isn’t Clarendon, there isn’t a parking lane next to the sidewalk to buffer you from out of control drivers.

    • Typing Dogs

      Bet it will be vibrant though….where else could you have a drink with the possibility of being stabbed while you get run over, solicited, shot and then stepped over !!!

      • novasteve

        And in the future you can have derailed streetcars running over outdoor patrons.

      • JamesE

        Every Tuesday is 50% off beer bottle stabbings

    • happycyclist

      how do you suppose pedestrians manage?

      • Jane-Dallas

        By keeping moving.

        • happycyclist

          You’re just as likely to be hit by an on sidewalk car – unless you think the car is aiming for you. Think about it.

          • Jane-Dallas

            I was talking about the stabbings.

          • Kat

            Uh, I have thought about it and I’ve experienced some very near misses — inches — by “cyclists” on along Columbia Pike and Glebe Road. I have yet to see a car driving down the sidewalk. While bicycles should be on the road, most cyclists — especially the ones who only ride when the weather is nice — are too scared to ride on Columbia Pike (or Glebe Road). With CaBi coming to the Pike, it will only get worse. While the law says pedestrians have the right of way on the sidewalk, it seems most people forget all about that once they’re on a bike.

    • JohnB

      Actually there is a parking lane.

      • AL

        I can’t recall if the parking lane extends all the way to the corner where William Jeffrey’s is.

  • Thes

    Why would they need to remove it “seasonally”? Why not just remove it when they’re not using it? No reason to have the furniture blocking the sidewalk at 8 a.m. every day when people are trying to get to work, and no reason not to have the tables out there on an unusually warm December or March day when people would like to catch a bit of sun.

    • CW

      I think the County actually forbids the latter. Someone with an actual source, please provide, but my experience is that there is a mandated start and end day for outdoor seating (I think this goes for rooftops too).

      • Thes

        Whatever the rule IS, that’s not what the rule SHOULD be. Furniture should not block the sidewalk except when it’s being used, and when it’s a good day for outdoor dining, whatever the calendar says, it should be allowed.

        • CW

          Agreed 100% – with the winter we had, restaurants could have made a lot of money, and the County a lot of tax revenue.

      • Clarendon

        Yes, the ordinance that allows outdoor seating has some wording that implies strongly that it has to be temporary or seasonal. There was recently rediscovered by staff during the reign of the last zoning admin. I think staff previously had not really thought about it that much, nor enforced it. Most restaurants removed their seating anyway during the winter months. The rediscovery may have been precipitated due to the increasing number and the fact that many restaurants were starting to add stuff like propane heating, awnings and maybe even plastic screening (to keep the heat in) – basically turning the outdoor seating into more year-round restaurant space. That’s my recollection anyway.

        • CW

          Ahh, here we go. From the depths of the County website, some perfectly clear “advice”:


          • Thes

            The County Board needs to clarify and change this law. Basing sidewalk obstructions on “seasons” instead of, for example, the dinner hour, is stupid.

          • CW

            Well but what I don’t understand is that apparently there is no law.

            “There is no explicit requirement in the Zoning Ordinance that requires them to be temporary or seasonal and so the Zoning Administrator recently provided the following advice regarding administration of outdoor cafes.”

            Yet somehow the County has the restaurants scared enough with their “advice” that no place dares open on a beautiful March day?

          • South Awwlington

            @Thes – And were would you like restaurants to store several tons of wrought iron?

            When was the last restaurant gig you held?

          • South Awwlington

            *WHERE* g dmmt!

  • Resident

    This is a narrow sidewalk as it is for walkers and adding tables out front will not make friends in the neighborhood.

    I like this restaurant. Will not go there if they put seating out front.

    • FrenchyB

      Out of 40 seats, only four would be on the Pike side – the rest would be on Adams Street, which has a much wider sidewalk and less foot traffic.

      • bringmetheyuppies

        and has a pretty steep incline all the way up!

        • FrenchyB

          Hence the proposal to build a removable platform to make the seating area level.

  • JohnB

    4 seats on Columbia pike = 2 two tops. Basically just an advertisement for the seating on Adams. Looking forward to sitting outside.

  • Chris Slatt

    Looking forward to enjoying this outdoor seating while everyone else (apparently) runs away in fear of out of control cars and random stabbings.

    • Westover

      And bus exhaust fumes. You forgot to mention that. Enjoy your wheezing.

      • Jim

        You don’t get out much do you?

      • confused

        another argument for streetcars?

        • V. Putin

          you bet

    • FrenchyB


    • JamesE

      Don’t forget the Spanish gangs dressed as bullfighters

      • HayDiosMio

        As a troll of Hispanic origin I find your generalizations outrageous bro. Everyone knows they dress like Wall Street bankers!

    • South Awwlington

      Socialphobes on here.

    • esmith69

      If people actually read news stories in their entirety, they would have seen that the recent beer bottle stabbing at least was not random at all. In fact it was just a bunch of very drunk guys.

      Like I’ve been saying all along…Clarendouches will always find something to criticize about South Arlington. I can find PLENTY that’s not to like about Clarendoucheville….

  • Chris Slatt
  • CW

    Oh that’s right, THIS is what the County Board was doing during the year that it took them to get around to deciding to fix the fire station that was falling down from the earthquake. Taking care of the IMPORTANT STUFF.

  • MN

    I surely won’t be sitting on any table outside on Columbia Pike… I’ve seen a car go right into the bicycle shop up the street… not looking to become roadkill. S Adams is fine & safe… not the Pike.

  • YTK

    Who the hey wants to sit on those sidewalks and eat, while buses and other stenchables go roaring past??

  • Downthestreet

    So what ever came of this? Was this tabled?


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