Office Vacancy Rate Dropping — “The commercial vacancy rate in the County continues to improve. The vacancy rate as of the second quarter of 2019 stands at 16.6%, down nearly 5% from its historic high of 21% in 2015. Arlington Economic Development also announced it successfully closed 26 deals in FY 2019, representing 7.2 million square feet of office space and 43,000 jobs.” [Arlington County]
County Adopts New Bathroom Policy — “The Arlington County government has adopted what amounts to an anything-goes policy for government-building restrooms and locker rooms. The policy, outlined to County Board members on July 16, will formally allow any individual to use a male or female restroom ‘that corresponds with gender identity or expression,’ county staff said.” [InsideNova]
Human Remains Found Near GW Parkway — Human remains, in a skull, have reportedly been found near the GW Parkway and Reagan National Airport, in the same area where a D.C. cadaver dog was hurt earlier this week, prompting a medevac flight. The dog is now recovering from serious injuries. U.S. Park Police are investigating the source of the remains. [Fox 5, Washington Post, WTOP]
New Provost, Plans for Marymount — “Marymount is proud to welcome the university’s new Provost, Hesham El-Rewini, Ph.D., P.E., who officially begins his duties on campus this week… ‘We have bold plans for the future of Marymount as we strive to become an elite Catholic institution that is nationally recognized for innovation,’ said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University.” [Marymount University]
GoFundMe for Westover Residents — A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to benefit residents of Westover whose homes were damaged by flash flooding last week. So far more than $8,000 has been raised. [GoFundMe]
Big Crane Assisting With DCA Project — “A 250 ft. crane is being used to lift and put steel into place for a new 14-gate concourse that will replace Gate 35X” at Reagan National Airport. [Twitter]
Pentagon City Apartment Sold for Big Bucks — “Dweck Properties Inc. has picked up another multifamily property in Pentagon City, not far from where Amazon.com Inc. is settling into its second home. A Dweck affiliate paid $117 million July 9 for the Park at Pentagon Row, a 299-unit apartment building at 801 15th St. S.” [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
HQ2 to Include Banana Stand, Local Businesses — “Schoettler said the outdoor areas will likely include elements from its Seattle headquarters, such as a community vegetable garden and a banana stand… Amazon’s in-house food program will only serve about one-quarter of the HQ2 workforce, encouraging the majority of the employees to each lunch at nearby businesses. And because Amazon will own the buildings, Schoettler said it will be able to curate the retail to focus on locally owned businesses.” [Bisnow, WAMU, Washington Business Journal]
County Again Recognized for Tech Savvy — “Arlington County is once again among the top ranked digital counties in the nation. The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2019 award designated Arlington second place in the 150,000-249,999 population category.” [Arlington County]
Legion Development a National Model? — “Post 139 and APAH’s partnership should serve as an example for addressing the issue of homeless veterans, said Darryl Vincent, chief operating officer of nonprofit U.S.VETS… In 2018, there were 12,806 American Legion posts across the country, a huge inventory of property that could be repurposed as affordable housing.” [Politico]
Helicopter Noise Amendment Passes House — “The House of Representatives adopted a set of amendments to H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act, including two offered by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) which would address helicopter noise in the National Capital Region.” [Press Release]
ACPD: Lock Your Car and House — “The Arlington County Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies throughout the country in a public safety campaign aimed at promoting crime prevention strategies to reduce and prevent thefts from vehicles and homes. The campaign, known as the 9 P.M. Routine, encourages residents to conduct security checks in their homes and vehicles each evening to ensure their property is secure.” [Arlington County]
APS Teacher Receives National Recognition — “Wilfredo Padilla Melendez, teacher at Claremont Immersion School, received Instructure’s 2019 Educator of the Year Award. Wilfredo was recognized as one of six educators who go above and beyond to redefine traditional classroom activities.” [Press Release]
Photo courtesy Arlington VA/Flickr
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Residents hit hard by floods across Arlington are worrying about how to pay the repair costs.
Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz declared a state of emergency two days after Monday’s flash floods wrecked homes and destroyed businesses. The County Board now needs to approve the emergency declaration, which could pave the way for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid.
For several residents in Westover, flood waters reached several feet high in their homes, destroying wood floors and appliances as well as cars and finished basements. Residents are still totaling the cost of the damages, but the majority said their homeowner’s insurance isn’t covering it — and most do not have flood insurance.
‘It happened very fast’
When ARLnow visited the Westover neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, mud still caked the pavement and friends and families were carrying out furniture to the county’s waiting trash truck.
“It happened very fast,” said neighbor Melinda Root. “I looked at my door and it was like looking at a weird aquarium.”
Root said at around 9 a.m. Monday, brown water rushed into the first floor of her house after rising outside, pouring up from the floorboards and in from the doors.
The inundation lasted about an hour, filling the basement to the ceiling and rising almost three feet on the first floor where it destroyed the carpet, kitchen appliances, as well as photographs and clothing. Outside, the water rose several feet high and flooded the engine of her car.
“The first thing I thought of was my cat,” Root said of her 13-year old friendly feline Chloe.
Root’s husband John DeMarce was at work when the storm hit, and was able to get Dominion Energy to cut the power to the house. When he arrived back in Westover, the floods had damaged thousands of dollars worth of tools in his woodworking shop in the basement and contaminated the carpet throughout the first floor.
“I’ve thrown away hundreds of books and CDs,” said DeMarce. Since then, he’s been ripping up the carpet himself and worries that the floor is now a mold risk, too.
He and his wife said they were very grateful to friends who are giving them a place to stay and are trying to clean 14 loads of laundry for them to save some of their clothes.
“We’re all in these same boat,’ said Root. “But that’s kind of a weird thing to say about a flood.”
Across the street, Athena Burkett, her husband Kenny Puk, and their friends were carrying away all her furniture to the curb after the water rose two feet inside her house and filled her basement.
Silt caked the hardwood floors in the first floor, and a light smell of sewage still pervades on Wednesday afternoon in the home even with the windows open and several fans running for days.
“It so much better than it was,” she said.
Burkett says she tried to come back to house Monday morning when she heard about the flooding but couldn’t drive through the river that filled her street.
“I stood right there up on that hill and watched as it happened,” she said of the top of the street.
The currents were so strong they lifted her shed and moved it almost two feet into her neighbor’s yard, half-crushing a floating chair that Kenny Puk jokes is now “the wicked witch of the west Adirondack chair” or “Excalibur.” Her family’s car is also totaled. A group of friends set up a cleaning shop in the backyard to salvage some metal shelves from the house.
Now plastic lines the second floor staircase inside the house to where she’s stored the few pieces of furniture that survived. The plastic is held down with neat stacks of books that with waterlogged covers. Storm water ruined the rest of her furniture, most of her appliances — and her wedding album.
“Yeah. I’m kind of in shock,” said Burkett, who’s only owned the house for two years.
Like Root and DeMarce, Burkett also lost her HVAC system, hot water heater, washer and dryer, and car to the floods. Both sets of neighbors said their homes are uninhabitable right now.
And as for homeowners insurance? “We’re getting nothing,” Burkett said.
“There were produce boxes from Westover Market in peoples’ front yards,” said another neighbor, Nicole Bender. “The path of the river cut across several yards and broke through fences along the way.”
Bender hadn’t seen anyone form the county checking on the clean-up efforts until Wednesday morning. “I don’t think they realized the level of damage,” she said.
Carpet scraps and personal effects lined 14th Street N. in Westover — one of the hardest-hit areas of the county — and for Wayne Blankenship, that includes her 30-year collection of hundreds of signed vinyl records. He spread racks of records on bed slats in his front yard under the hot sun, but Blankenship isn’t sure they’re salvageable.
He’s also worried about the hardwood on the first floor, which is starting to buckle after flood waters rose 6 inches in the home and filled his finished basement in “thirty seconds.” The rise was so forceful it exploded an egress window in the basement, and ripped two basement doors in half.
The power stayed on even though the circuit breaker was underwater, and Blankenship says he’s grateful that he didn’t get electrocuted when wading through the water. He’s also thankful for friends who’ve given them a place to stay and helped rip out drywall in the basement.
“There is humanity,” he laughs. “It does exist.”
Blankenship bought pumps from Home Depot to help his neighbors clear out their own floodwater. Others banded together to buy wagons full of food for each other or loan a hand with ripping out drywall.
Blankenship has lived on the street for 23 years with his husband Maxwell Tourgersen, with whom he recently celebrated his 35 anniversary. Together the two recently spent $30,000 renovating their basement.
“We just got the house the way we wanted it!” Blankenship lamented.
He estimates it will cost at least that, plus $18,000 for a new water heater and furnace, to do it again. Upstairs, he thinks it will cost $26,000 just to repair the kitchen. Like Beckett, he didn’t have flood insurance and his homeowner’s insurance isn’t paying a dime.
“This is going to be all out of pocket,” he said.
‘Too Early to Tell’
The Arlington County Fire Department responded to at least 25 swift water rescue calls on Monday as commuters were trapped on roads turned to rivers. All told, the floods caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage to county-owned infrastructure alone. Private donations have also poured in for Westover businesses swamped with stormwater.
Update at 11:20 a.m. — Arlington County’s Solid Waste Bureau has issued the following statement about trash collection in the wake of Monday’s flooding. In it, the county apologizes for notices of “improper trash preparation” issued to flood-impacted residents “during this difficult time.”
The County continues to take special measures to assist residential curbside customers in trash collection efforts following this week’s damaging storm. We have identified areas that experienced extensive flooding and will have additional County trash collection trucks sent out daily to monitor these areas and collect items set on the curb. This will continue through Saturday, July 21 and will be extended if necessary. The County will also continue to monitor other areas and expand this service if necessary.
Trash collection by the County contractor will continue as scheduled throughout the week of July 8. If storm damage debris set out for bulk item collection isn’t picked up the day of your regular trash collection, it may take an additional 1-2 days for service given the extent of the event. You can also call the Customer Contact Call Center at 703-228-6570 to schedule a special pickup.
Some residents may have received an orange notice of improper trash preparation. We apologize if you received one during this difficult time. These are routinely issued by the County contractor to help residents properly prepare materials to allow for efficient and timely pickups and to ensure the safety of the crews.
For residential customers with storm-related debris, trash should be properly prepared for pickup on your designated collection day. For large and/or bulk household items, please follow these guidelines.
If residents have any questions, contact the Customer Contact Call Center at 703-228-6570 or learn more about residential services at recycling.arlingtonva.us/residential. Check out the online Where Does it Go? directory to learn how to properly dispose of specific types of items.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Earlier: Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has declared a state of emergency in Arlington following Monday’s historic flash flooding.
The declaration, which is set to be formalized by the County Board on Saturday, is a first step to obtaining disaster relief funding for residents and businesses affected by the flash flood emergency. Across the county, cars were destroyed, homes were flooded and businesses inundated.
In a press release, below, the county says volunteers have been going door-to-door to conduct damage assessments, but residents and business owners are also encouraged to submit damage reports online.
County Manager Mark Schwartz signed a Declaration of Local Emergency for Arlington County, effective 8:30 a.m. on July 8, 2019, in response to the Flash Flood Emergency that saw torrential rain, dangerous public safety conditions and damage to private and public facilities.
“Following record setting rainfall and flash flooding on Monday, initial damage assessments have clearly shown the impact to residents and businesses in our community,” said Aaron Miller, Director of the Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management (PSCEM). “This emergency declaration is a key step in activating recovery assistance for our community. We continue to work closely with state and regional partners, including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, on the process of determining our community’s eligibility for disaster assistance.”
The County Board will vote to formalize the emergency declaration at Saturday’s Regular Board Meeting, a step that positions the County to request reimbursement for storm-related costs through Virginia to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The emergency state remains in effect until rescinded. More information on how individuals and businesses might benefit from this designation will be detailed in a soon-to-come Declaration of Local Emergency FAQ.
As Arlington continues to work with state and local partners to assess damage, the County is asking those affected by Monday’s storm to submit a Damage Report form by Friday, July 12. While owners are responsible for repairs on their property, the County could use this data to pursue disaster aid, to the extent it is available.
Volunteers from the Arlington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and Team Rubicon have been trained and mobilized to go door-to-door to assist with damage assessments in the County.
In the meantime, those with immediate needs are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 or call the local American Red Cross. Only dial 9-1-1 for a life-threatening emergency.
Photo courtesy Nicole Bender
(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Arlington County has revealed a cyber attack that penetrated the county’s payroll system.
In a statement, the county says a number of employees were impacted by the intrusion, but did not specify the exact number or impacts. The intrusion appears to be the result of a “phishing” email targeting county employees and not a hack, the press release suggests.
Police are investigating.
Arlington’s cybersecurity division previously told ARLnow that it was staffing up and training county employees in light of the growing number of cyber attacks. The county budgeted $60,000 for the department to teach county employees how to avoid phishing emails, among other security best practices.
The full press release is below.
Arlington County Government recently discovered the existence of an intrusion into the Arlington County payroll system. This intrusion was limited in both the time of the compromise and the number of the employees who were impacted. No resident data was compromised during the intrusion.
All of the impacted employees have been identified, advised of the situation and steps are being taken to ensure the security of their personal data. Based on a joint review by the Arlington County Department of Technology Services and the Arlington County Police Department, the consensus belief is that the intrusion was likely the result of individual employees being targeted through a phishing email.
Since discovery of the intrusion, Arlington County has implemented enhanced cyber security features to safeguard email and other critical computing systems. As part of our education and crime prevention efforts, Arlington County is sharing cyber safety tips and reminding employees and the public not to open any emails from individuals they are unfamiliar with and to not click on links contained with any emails without first verifying their content.
The intrusion is currently being investigated by the Arlington County Police Department. Any information related to this ongoing investigation can be provided to Detective John Bamford of the Department’s Homeland Security Section at [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Arlington officials estimate that Monday’s flash flooding caused $3.5 million in damage to county infrastructure, particularly bridges in local parks.
As of last night, the an Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman said the department was aware of “at least six pedestrian bridges adjacent to the Four Mile Run stream and one storage building at Bon Air Park” which have been washed away.
Restrooms, playgrounds and picnic tables along local streams also sustained damage and “a few community centers experienced minor to moderate flooding,” though the community centers all remained open with “no major operational impacts,” we’re told.
The parks department damage assessment was updated Tuesday late afternoon to include the following:
- Six pedestrian bridges adjacent to the Four Mile Run stream — one at Bon Air Park, two at Lubber Run Park, two at Glencarlyn Park and one at Gulf Branch Nature Center — were destroyed. Additionally, a bridge near the Glencarlyn Dog Park and one at Holmberg Park were damaged
- The following picnic shelters are closed through Friday (July 12): Bluemont Park, Bon Air Park, Glencarlyn Park
- Playgrounds at numerous parks lost safety surface in the flooding; as a result, Glencarlyn Park playground remains closed until further notice
- A storage building at Bon Air Park was destroyed
- James Hunter Dog Park [near Shirlington] experienced flooding and DPR is evaluating the fountain
- The County’s Trails saw debris and dirt; Four Mile Run Trail suffered some asphalt damage
“The Department of Parks and Recreation is working to make our areas safe and operational as soon as possible after Arlington’s parks saw considerable damage on Monday,” said spokeswoman Martha Holland. “DPR is still working on gathering damage assessments from the storm, and some facilities may be closed as cleaning and repairs begin.”
Photos and video also shows damage along Lubber Run, near the amphitheater. A torrent of muddy water can be seen rushing through the park; pedestrian bridges were washed away, though the amphitheater itself was spared.
— Brandon J⭕️nes (@btj) July 8, 2019
Foot bridges along even tiny babbling brooks were no match for raging floodwaters. One such wooden bridge connecting Chesterbrook Road and N. Vermont Street in the Old Glebe neighborhood was washed off its foundation and blocked off by caution tape this morning.
A couple of Arlington libraries were also impacted.
“The auditorium at Central Library sustained water damage and all programs are canceled this week,” Arlington Public Library spokesman Henrik Sundqvist told ARLnow. “Central Library opened up on schedule today.”
“Cherrydale Branch Library closed early yesterday due to flooding and power outages,” Sundqvist added. “We expect to open on time today.”
Arlington County has closed two roads that suffered damage to the road surface as a result of the flooding: until repairs can be made, 18th Street N. is closed between N. Lexington and McKinley streets, while 20th Street N. is closed at George Mason Drive.
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) July 8, 2019
Due to surface damage from today's flooding in Westover, 18th Street North is closed for repairs between North Lexington Street and North McKinley Road. #vatraffic https://t.co/AR4VZCOl2E pic.twitter.com/K2wlcs7NCl
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) July 8, 2019
“There’s no other significant damage to facilities at this time, but assessments are ongoing,” said county spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith.
Geofencing is the limiting of where the scooters can ride or park. Certain areas are set as fenced off by Arlington County government as part of the Shared Mobility Devices (SMD) pilot, according to county transportation spokesman Eric Balliet.
“For now, the County is using geofencing to discourage users from ending their trip and parking these devices in certain areas,” Balliet said. “Based on agency input, the County has requested that SMD companies prohibit parking of their devices at federal lands such as the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, National Park Service lands, and NOVA Parks.”
But enforcement of the geofencing is left to the companies running the scooters.
“SMD companies are handling the parking prohibition in a couple of ways, including charging a fine, suspending accounts for multiple infractions, as well as prohibiting riding through geofenced areas,” Balliet said. “We will soon be providing the companies a map to ensure each is using the same parcel data that accurately reflects the areas where parking is prohibited.”
Geofencing can result in scooters slowing down below a certain speed cap, stopping altogether inside certain boundaries, or not allowing the user to end their ride and park in certain areas, depending on the company’s policy.
But while geofencing is designed to keep scooters inside authorized zones, it may be a contributor to the mysterious spate of abandoned scooters littering certain trails in Arlington. One tipster told ARLnow that the geofences near the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn forced him to abandon his scooter into a pile of other scooters at the border of the invisible barrier.
Another hot spot for abandoned scooters: along the Mt. Vernon Trail near Roosevelt Bridge and Gravelly Point.
— Andrew Beaujon (@abeaujon) June 27, 2019
Meanwhile, across the river, one government official is advocating for scooters to be allowed on one particular piece of federal land. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) sent a letter today asking U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to allow scooters on the Capitol grounds, where they are currently prohibited.
In her letter, Norton describes scooters as an “affordable, environmentally friendly and efficient mode of transportation relied upon by increasing numbers of Hill staffers, D.C. residents and visitors to our nation’s capital.”
Photo via Bird/Twitter
A box truck that provides mobile paper shredding services caught fire at an Arlington County office building Wednesday morning.
Firefighters managed to extinguish the small blaze in the truck’s shredder before the flames could spread, as seen in a fire department video below.
The truck was parked outside 2110 Washington Blvd in the Penrose neighborhood, according to scanner traffic. The building contains offices for Arlington’s Dept. of Human Services and Arlington Public Schools.
The project is set to re-stripe portions of residential Lorcom Lane and Military Road as “complete streets” with the goal of “reducing conflicts between people driving and people biking through enhanced pavement marking and signage designs.”
Per the county:
Help us improve safety on N Lorcom Lane and N Military Road!
This repaving and remarking project is located on N Lorcom Lane (from Lee Highway to Military Road) and on N Military Road (from Vacation Lane to Lorcom Lane).
Join us anytime between 6:00-7:30 pm to learn about the project and share feedback on design concepts.
The open house is being held at Cherrydale Branch Library (2190 N. Military Road).
Help us improve safety on N Lorcom Lane and N Military Road! Join an open house June 27 to learn about the project and share feedback on design concepts. https://t.co/cxWs81ONXV pic.twitter.com/EBtr1HkBbX
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) June 21, 2019
Map and image via Google Maps
Helicopter Complaints Continue — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), one of the lawmakers who requested the study, said that helicopter noise is ‘our number one constituent complaint’ and that the number of complaints has risen steadily since he took office in 2015.” [Washington Post]
Early Morning Apartment Fire — “Units were called to 2400 blk 27th Ct S for fire in 4 story garden apt. On arrival crews found balcony #fire on floors 1 & 2 being controlled by #firesprinklers. Fire extinguished, no extension inside. No injuries.” [Twitter]
New Election Chief Sworn In — “When Gretchen Reinemeyer was sworn in as Arlington County’s general registrar, she became only the fifth person to hold the position since it was created in 1947. Reinemeyer is succeeding long-time registrar Linda Lindberg who is retiring at the end of the month after serving more than 25 years in the Arlington Voting and Elections Office–16 of them as general registrar. [Arlington County]
YHS Student Helps Improve Pedestrian Safety — “Pedestrians in Arlington, Virginia, may notice flashing yellow lights when crossing the street, thanks to one high schooler who’s working to make streets safer… Jake Smith, who graduated Yorktown High School on Thursday, interned with the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services to help them plan their beacon project and keep cars accountable.” [NBC 4, Arlington County]
Zoning Keeps Parts of Arlington Exclusive — “Arlington does have a decent amount of area zoned for multi-family housing, but it’s concentrated in the more southern parts of the county. This makes North Arlington completely inaccessible to many and is the source of the county’s geographical inequality.” [Blue Virginia]
Dozen New Arlington Police Officers — “The Arlington County Police Department welcomed 12 new officers this week, as Session 140 graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy (NVCJA) and took their oath to serve and protect the residents and visitors of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]
Local Businessman Sentenced — “A prominent Northern Virginia businessman has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for multiple fraud schemes that cheated investors out of roughly $20 million. Todd Hitt, 54, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court in Alexandria to soliciting investments in building projects as part of what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.” [Associated Press, Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Today is the summer solstice — pools are open, schools are out, the Fourth of July is around the corner — but the planned 22,000 square foot beer garden outside Clarendon is still shuttered.
“The Lot,” owned by local restaurant scene veteran Mike Bramson, was originally supposed to open in the summer of 2017. Then that got pushed back to the summer of 2018. Then spring of 2019. After some additional construction, Bramson told Eater he was anticipating an opening earlier this month.
Located at 3217 10th Street N., at the busy corner of 10th Street N. and Wilson Blvd, The Lot looks mostly complete from the outside. There are new trees, a fence, picnic bench seating, string lighting, a pergola and a pair of large signs. What there is not, yet, is any sign of life.
Bramson did not respond to requests for comment from ARLnow, but a review of Arlington County permitting activity shows that his efforts to get county permitting and zoning officials to allow him to build new bathrooms and a food prep area, and to open the beer garden, have all been rejected.
The issue seems to be existential for Bramson’s would-be business. In short, there does not appear to be a legal mechanism to allow a standalone, permanent beer garden in Arlington County.
The reason for the rejection of The Lot’s zoning applications to open as an outdoor cafe, county officials say and permitting records indicate, is that under Arlington County code an outdoor cafe must be an accessory use to a physical, indoor restaurant. Furthermore, an outdoor cafe can’t have more seating than the indoor restaurant.
The Lot has no indoor seating and was planning to serve food from food trucks.
“The building permit under review is for interior alterations to the existing building; to create restrooms (required by Inspections Services Division) and a food prep area (required by the Public Health Division) in order to use the outdoor café area and beverage trucks,” Gina Wimpey, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Dept. of Community Planning, Housing & Development, told ARLnow via email.
“Since they included the outdoor café space in the permit, Zoning cannot approve the café space in the absence of a restaurant with indoor seating (required by the Zoning Ordinance),” Wimpey added.
Luckily for The Lot, there does appear to be a possible workaround. It could figuratively latch itself to a nearby restaurant — Bramson’s Social Restaurant Group owns Pamplona and Bar Bao in Clarendon — and operate on a temporary basis.
“They can open the outdoor café as a short-term use associated with other restaurants within 2,000 feet, but it must have more indoor seats than the proposed outdoor café,” Wimpey said. “This has been discussed with the applicant and they’re working towards a solution. Until the Certificate of Occupancy for the short-term use is issued, the building permit cannot be issued.”
So why can The Stand, a Social Restaurant Group-owned food kiosk in Crystal City, continue serving without indoor seating? Because it technically isn’t considered an outdoor cafe under county code.
“1601 Crystal Drive [The Stand] currently has a Certificate of Occupancy for a food service kiosk and has had one in this location since at least the late-1990s,” Wimpey said.
Beer gardens have been blossoming around the D.C. area over the past few years — including in Arlington, next to bricks-and-mortar restaurants — and are a popular warm weather destination. But Wimpey said there is no movement in Arlington County’s policy-setting ranks to allow stand-alone beer gardens.
“There isn’t anything planned in the proposed 2019-2020 work program,” she said,.