Temporary Outdoor Seating Areas (TOSAs) have been among Arlington County’s most successful responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chamber supports Arlington County’s efforts to make these expanded outdoor dining areas permanent. To make this expansion a success, the Chamber is encouraging Arlington County work with restaurants on their seating, rather than adapting one-size-fits-all regulations, and to establish streamlined processes for restaurants to secure permanent outdoor seating. Moreover, the Chamber encourages Arlington County to complete this work before the end of 2021 to prevent any costly interruption in outdoor service for restaurants still struggling to recovery from the pandemic.
The Arlington Chamber of Commerce encourages the County Board to adopt the proposed ordinance to authorize non-commercial banners in the Ballston Business Improvement District (BID). This signage will support the Ballston BID’s placemaking work and build on its Ballston “full” campaign.
The Chamber encouraged the County Board to accept the proposed ordinance to allow non-commercial banners in the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID). This would allow the National Landing BID to identify and build community across its three neighborhoods, Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard. The Chamber also believes this will approval will enhance neighborhoods in Arlington.
The Chamber wrote a letter to the County Board encouraging them further permit retail uses of TOSAs in public spaces. In addition to this, winterization of these spaces is essential for restaurants to maintain the ability to serve diners in a socially distant manner. The Chamber believes that allowing property owners and community groups to craft community TOSAs for their areas is also a welcome addition.
The Chamber encouraged Arlington County to create a simple, administrative process for fitness-related businesses to obtain permits to hold activities in public parks and other open spaces. The impact of the pandemic has been devastating to fitness facilities, who are likely to face continued restrictions on indoor activities. Parks and other open spaces have the potential to provide opportunities for fitness classes to spread out and to allow patrons to space out to exercise safely.
The Chamber sent a letter to the Arlington County Board encouraging a flexible approach to outdoor dining to help restaurants maintain distance between patrons due to the coronavirus. The Chamber encouraged the Arlington County to establish a simple, administrative process for outdoor seating permits, to allow adaptation of parking space for dining, to consider block closures for restaurants to set up tables, and to expedite zoning changes for outdoor seating in urban zones that do not currently permit it.
In a letter to the Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, the Chamber asked the Board and Manager to direct the Planning staff to include updating the signage ordinance in their work plan to make it more flexible, simple, and consistent. The Chamber also encouraged the Planning staff to ask for input from the business community as they carry out this work.
In a letter to Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, the Chamber expressed concerns that feedback provided by the Chamber's Government Affairs & Economic Development Committee on the proposed amendments to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance regarding retail signage is not being included in staff recommendations. The committee met with County staff in April to discuss issues with requirements that could negatively impact Arlington's retail locations. In the letter, the Chamber reiterates how these remaining issues could harm businesses and calls on the County to work to fix these concerns.
In a letter to Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce requested that the County Board broaden the Request to Advertise for the proposed amendments to the Arlington County Zoning Ordinance regarding retail signage to allow for discussion of possible improvements.
The Chamber sent a letter to the Arlington County Board expressing its support for the proposed amendments to the Sign Regulations for Regional Shopping Centers, as well as the proposed amendments to Regulations for Comprehensive Sign Plans adopted prior to July 24, 2012. The Chamber commends the County and the staff for their efforts on these two updates to provide timely and needed enhanced sign regulations for the County’s regional shopping centers, which are key economic drivers for Arlington County.
The Chamber sent a letter to the Arlington County Board in support of the less restrictive direction taken by the Board in the revised Retail Action Plan, while expressing concern over important areas that have not been addressed.
The Chamber sent a letter praising the Arlington County Board for instructing the County Manager to explore options for creating a public-private partnership with Forest City Enterprises to redevelop Ballston Common Mall in Ballston Quarter. The Chamber also commends the Board for encouraging the County to adhere to the proposed timeline to ensure that the project accomplishes the County's economic and place-making goals.