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Garden City Live Entertainment Use Permits

At its meeting on July 8, 2006, the County Board approved a staff recommendation to end a county-granted special use permit allowing live entertainment at the Palladium night clum in the Garden City shopping area. The neighborhood has long sought improvements in this very visible business area along Lee Highway, and the decision by the Board follows other recent efforts by the county staff to bring change to the area.

The staff report prepared for the Board meeting concluded:
“After renewing the use permit for live entertainment for two (2) months in November 2005 to allow the applicant time to remedy condition violations, the County Board heard the item in January 2006 and, based on the progress made by the applicant tempered by the concerns of the neighborhood, renewed the use permit for six (6) months. During the review process in January, staff committed to both the County Board and the neighborhood to continue to work with the applicant to ensure compliance with the conditions. An administrative review in April 2006 indicated that the applicant continued to operate in compliance with the conditions. However, following this administrative review, the applicant allowed an outside promoter to organize dance parties commencing on April 20, 2006 with live entertainment during times not permitted under the conditions of the use permit. Staff concludes that the activity was an egregious violation of the use permit conditions, and recommends that the County Board not renew the use permit.” 

On May 7, 2005, the County Board considered the renewal of the live entertainment use permit for Garden City’s Palladium nightclub and a new use permit for the Tacos Dona Mary restaurant. While the Board did vote to approve these permits, they did so with fairly restrictive conditions.

The conditions restrict the live entertainment to the hours of 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday only, require a documented commitment for additional parking with the Garden City parking lot of 20 parking spaces for the Palladium and 13 spaces for Tacos Dona Mary, and a short timetable for the next review (3 month staff review and 6 month board review).

In addition, the County’s Director of Planning announced intentions to begin an enforcement effort that will include, for the first time, repair of parking lot paving and other maintenance needs. County Board Chairman Fisette also announced intentions to convene a meeting with property landlords to discuss maintenance and renovation issues.

Zoning, Land Use and Use Permits

The Yorktown Civic Association is often contacted by Arlington County for neighborhood comment on use permit, unified residential plan and site plan filings. The association is NOT contacted for comment on zoning variance requests.

Developer Files Unified Plan for New Homes on Buchanan Street

In February 2003, the Yorktown Civic Association was notified of plans by developer JCE, Inc. of Alexandria, VA, for a new residential development to replace the four existing homes on the Buchanan Street cul de sac at the 4800 block of Yorktown Blvd.

The builder has filed for a use permit that would allow the construction of five large homes on the four existing lots at 2700, 2704, 2708, and 2712 Buchanan Street.

Based in part on initial concerns from the YCA Executive Committee, however, the developer has asked for a delay in the county hearing on the proposal. Additional information on this project will be posted when it becomes available.

The use permit approach provides a mechanism for builders to bypass existing zoning requirements when designing new developments. These properties are currently zoned R-10, requiring 10,000 sq. feet per property. The existing setback requirements are:
front yard – 25 feet (or 50 feet from street centerline)
rear yard – minimum 25 feet
side yards – 8 feet on one side and 16 feet on the other side.

The original proposal by JCE, which would replace the cul de sac with a shared driveway and “pipestemmed” lots, uses smaller setbacks. Two of the five lots would also be well below the 10000 foot required size. To view the proposed lot plan click here.

The Unified Residential Development (URD) use permit allows such deviations to “promote compatibility of one-family developments with surrounding neighborhoods.” Civic Associations and neighbors are to be consulted as part of the use permit approval process in determining whether this standard is met.