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County Board to Consider The Salt Line’s Planned Outdoor Cafe

Seafood restaurant The Salt Line is coming to Ballston next year and plans to have a large outdoor patio space with seating for up to 100 patrons.

Before it opens, however, The Salt Line’s future landlord at 4040 Wilson Blvd is seeking Arlington County Board approval to build the outdoor cafe, which will sit on private property and feature a fixed bar. The site plan amendment is on the County Board’s agenda next week and county staff is recommending the Board approve it.

More from the county staff report:

As part of their build out, the tenant proposes to establish an outdoor bar in the planned outdoor café space. The café area begins on Wilson Boulevard, wrapping around the corner and lining the façade of the Salt Line along the new public plaza area. The entirety of the fixed bar area and the outdoor seating are located on private property. The number of proposed interior seats is greater than the number of proposed exterior seats, so the outdoor café does not need a use permit…

The request to permit a fixed bar in a private outdoor café requires County Board approval in order to modify the requirements of ACZO Section 12.9.15, which requires outdoor café furnishings to be temporary.

This area was envisioned for private outdoor seating and therefore is not inconsistent with the original approval, and since the fixed bar does not encroach into the public realm, staff is supportive of the request. Staff has recommended a condition requiring removal of the fixed bar at the termination of the lease with The Salt Line, thus freeing up the space for future retail uses that would not necessarily be restaurants.

County staff is “supportive” of the outdoor cafe proposal but is also recommending “conditions related to the proposed design and window transparency in order to ensure that the space, as planned, becomes a vibrant and active pedestrian plaza,” according to the staff report.

The Salt Line, which first opened in D.C.’s Navy Yard in 2017 to critical acclaim, is hoping to open the new Ballston location next spring, telling ARLnow that they plan to make the restaurant “a real neighborhood gathering place.” The building, meanwhile, is nearing the end of its construction process and is expected to open to office and retail tenants by the end of the year.

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