Arlington County code could soon no longer reference “public dance halls” and the dizzying disco the term evokes.
That would mean live entertainment venue operators would be cut loose from paying for a $600 permit annually.
This weekend, the Arlington County Board is slated to hear a request to advertise a public hearing on whether to repeal a section of the county code governing dance halls. If a hearing is approved, the Board could authorize the change next month.
The section of code in question was adopted in 1969, when people were doing the “Funky Chicken.” That year, a state law allowed localities to issue licenses for public dance halls to “regulate and mitigate the land use impacts associated with establishments where dancing occurred,” per a county report.
A Northern Virginia Sun article from the time notes that the first dancing allowed by the permit took place at the Windjammer Lounge of the Twin Bridges Marriott Motor Hotel, the first lodging establishment opened by the now-international hotel chain.
But Arlington County says this regulation is redundant and burdensome for today’s venues hosting DJs remixing Bad Bunny beats.
That’s because four years after the 1969 code was adopted, the county began requiring business owners to obtain a County Board-approved special exception use permit to provide “live entertainment” — a broad category that includes dancing. Anyone looking to allow dancing specifically still needed the dance hall permit.
“These parallel processes effectively result in the Zoning Ordinance being the primary regulatory mechanism for public dance halls with the County Code assuming an administrative function,” according to a county report.
To ease up on live entertainment venues, the county is looking to simplify permitting processes.
Repealing the code, per the report, “both reduces regulatory burdens for small businesses and eliminates unnecessary regulatory processes without adverse impacts to standing policies and practices related to the regulation of live entertainment and public dance halls.”
The county will still regulate live entertainment venues, given the “land use impacts” associated with live venues, such as noise, disorderly guests or frequent police visits. That means there will still be public hearings, when the community can seek redress for potential impacts a venue may have, such as modified hours of operation.
“It is not just that they may be upsetting to neighbors; they are considered impacts because they are potentially ordinance violations,” said Erika Moore, a spokeswoman with the Department of Community, Planning and Development. “For example, music being played would have to violate the Noise Ordinance for it to be considered a land use impact.”
For instance, Arlington had to revoke the live entertainment permits of Pines of Italy and the Purple Lounge, both of which operated from the same building on Columbia Pike, over health and Alcoholic Beverage Control Board violations.
In proposing the change, county staff noted the dwindling number of places seeking dancing permits. For instance, the Salsa Room moved from Columbia Pike to the current Palladium space at 1524 Spring Hill Road in Tysons in March 2020.
“The current number of public dance hall permits represents a reduction of 60% in the total number of public dance halls over the past 5 years,” the report said.
The Zoning Division issued 10 public dance hall permits in the past 12 months, per the county. They were for:
- Darna (946 N. Jackson Street)
- Pike Bolivian Pizza (4111 Columbia Pike)
- O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd.)
- Restaurante El Salvador (4805 Columbia Pike)
- Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd)
- DoubleTree Crystal City Skydome (300 Army Navy Drive)
- Clarendon Pop-Up (3185 Wilson Blvd)
- Sushi Rock (1900 Clarendon Blvd)
- Top of the Town (1400 14th Street N.)
- Renegade Coffee & Kitchen (3100 Clarendon Blvd)
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There’s no official word on its website, but it looks like Bar Ivy in Clarendon may have closed permanently.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.