On June 18, Alexandria City Council voted 6-1 to approve changes to sections of the Zoning Ordinance for certain businesses. The changes will streamline the process for businesses to obtain Special Use Permits to operate in the city. The policies, which were recommended by the Planning Commission, came after significant public outreach, community meetings, and public forums.
The approved changes:
- Allow administrative review of Special Use Permits for certain uses that previously required a hearing;
- Allow certain uses requiring a Special Use Permit to be permitted by-right;
- Update various use categories and definitions to clarify and identify certain uses; and
- Amend the criteria for some Minor Amendments and the outdoor dining administrative review.
City Council’s action included definition updates and clarifications regarding businesses providing pet and animal care, food and beverage production, and light and general automotive services. Other revisions extend the parking exemption for outdoor restaurant seating citywide if located on private property, and Minor Amendments regarding restaurant and business expansions.
“These changes build on significant improvements to the City’s administrative processes over the last few years,” said City Manager Mark B. Jinks. “While we often receive feedback from small businesses that our permitting process is among the best in the region, our goal is to continuously improve and help add desirable amenities to our neighborhoods and business districts.”
The modifications adjust, improve, and continue the work of the City’s Small Business Zoning Task Force, which delivered an initial set of recommendations in 2008. They are part of Alexandria’s commitment to review how it regulates businesses while maintaining the balance between supporting small business and protecting the City’s award-winning quality of life.
For more information, visit the Small Business Zoning webpage.