Meeting Recap Alert: Planning Commission March 6, 2018

Recap of Planning Commission Meeting

held March 6, 2018

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Last night, the Planning Commission held their regular monthly meeting, where they discussed Special Use Permits (SUP) for Tandoori Nights and Taco Bell Cantina in Old Town, Secret Garten in Del Ray/Arlandria and a Phase II Development SUP for Wegmans-anchored Blocks 4 & 5 in Eisenhower.

The Commission also discussed the Old Town North Arts and Cultural District and considered the establishment of an Old Town North Streetscape and Open Space Fund and policy for developer contributions to implement the Old Town North Small Area Plan.

Details on all six items can be found below.

Item: Tandoori Nights Restaurant Special Use Permit (SUP)
Action: Unanimous vote to recommend approval of the SUP to City Council (removed from the consent agenda)
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, March 17, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal for a traditional Indian cuisine and full-service bar restaurant to occupy the 3,885 square feet second floor space previously used by La Bergerie in Crilley Warehouse, with extended hours of operation into the late afternoon and evening.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– 2nd floor restaurant space located at 218 N. Lee Street

– 147 indoor seats

– Limited live entertainment, such as occasional karaoke or a band of three to four members, would be occasionally offered for private events in the 40-seat multi-use room

– Hours of operation- 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. (Sun-Thurs), 10 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Fri. and Sat)

– Speakers representing an immediate townhome community expressed concerns about noise and hours of operation


Item: Secret Garten Restaurant SUP at 3410 Mount Vernon Ave
Action: Unanimous vote to recommend approval of the SUP to City Council, with amended hours of operation
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, March 17, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal to extend hours of operation, add off-premises alcohol sales and outdoor dining for an existing restaurant use
Details & Issues of Interest:

– If approved the restaurant operator will rename his restaurant from Senor Chicken to The Secret Garten, a restaurant which would serve sandwiches, sausages, burgers, and imported craft beers with an emphasis on high quality ingredients from local producers

– Creates a 30-seat outdoor dining area at the rear of the restaurant, in the place of six parking spaces

-Planning Commission extended the hours to be consistent with other restaurants-Hours of operation- 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., daily (INSIDE), 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Sun – Thurs) and 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Sat – Fri) (OUTDOOR)

– Speakers- 3 supporting the application, 4 asking for deferral- discussed proximity to residents, noise and crime


Item: Taco Bell Cantina Restaurant SUP at 417 King Street
Action: Unanimous vote to recommend approval of the SUP to City Council
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, March 17, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal to operate a restaurant in 2,195 square feet ground floor retail space previously occupied by Pendleton. Taco Bell’s new restaurant concept, Cantina, is designed for urban and pedestrian-oriented environments with tapas-style, shareable appetizers that complement the traditional Taco Bell menu.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– 72-seat restaurant – 52 indoor and 20 outdoor

– Not your typical Taco Bell – the Cantina is designed to feature open kitchens, digital menu boards and local artwork, and the restaurant will serve alcohol

– Hours of operation- 7 a.m. – 2 a.m., daily (INSIDE), 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. daily (OUTDOOR)

– 3 speakers expressed concerns about noise, late night hours and parking


Item: Rezoning and Text Amendment- Old Town North Arts and Cultural District
Action: None- this item was scheduled for discussion purposes only
Next Steps: The item will be docketed at the April Planning Commission and City Council hearings
Description: The recently adopted Old Town North Small Area Plan recommends regulatory incentives to retain and attract Arts and Cultural uses in Old Town North, and this text amendment provides a definition for Ground Floor Arts and Cultural Tenant and Arts and Cultural Anchor.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Establishes two incentive categories for the creation of Arts and Cultural space:

Ground Floor Arts and Cultural Tenant: floor area may be excluded if that space is leased to a small scale or individual stand-alone uses which include art galleries, artist studios, graphic art design, and crafts such as the production or creation of individual handmade objects. Additional uses that contribute to the creative economy may be permitted if they are deemed to be consistent with the intent. Uses require an SUP.

Arts and Cultural Anchor: floor area ratio and an associated amount of density may be increased by a maximum of 30% above the maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for a building or project that includes an Arts and/or Cultural Anchor- defined as a destination or venue where visual or performing arts and cultural works are taught, created, and made available to the public by various means including presenting live performances of theater, dance, music, or other imaginative work and/or producing or exhibiting physical works created by or under the direction of one or more artists, which are intended for unique production or limited reproduction. Museums where art and/or historic artifacts are displayed and/or created, and art schools, including but not limited to culinary art schools, instructional art, music, or drama academy may also qualify as an Arts and/or Cultural anchor. Uses require an SUP.

– Applies to a limited number of parcels within the Old Town Small Area Plan that have frontage on N. Washington Street, N. Saint Asaph Street, Montgomery Street, N. Fairfax Street, Canal Center Plaza, and Third Street

Item: Old Town North Developer Contributions Formula
Action: Unanimous vote to recommend approval of the policy and related funds to City Council
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, March 17, 2018 public hearing
Description: The Old Town North Small Area Plan recommends a variety of streetscape and open space enhancements to serve existing and future Old Town North residents, workers, and visitors and recommends establishing developer contributions to mitigate the impact of the added development. In addition to area-wide improvements, the Plan recommends site-related streetscape and infrastructure improvements to be implemented through redevelopment. The developer contributions policy distributes the total cost of plan area improvements among the City and the redevelopment sites with added floor area and establishes a per square foot developer contribution rate for the redevelopment sites.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Projects to be funded include:

Conversion of the train tracks in the area into a Linear Park
Montgomery Street 2-way conversion*
Plan-wide streetscape improvements
Addition of 2-4 acres of new Waterfront Park along the Power Plant site

– Catalyst phase- $3.00/SF

– Non-Catalyst phase- $7.99/SF

– Former Power Plant site- $10.03/SF

– * The per/SF figures will drop if 2-way conversion of Montgomery Street does not move forward

– One speaker representing property owners with redevelopment sites provided comments during the public hearing


Item: Hoffman Blocks 4 & 5 Development SUP Phase II- 2410 and 2460 Mill Road
Action: Unanimous vote to recommend approval of the DSUP Stage II and related approvals to City Council with amended conditions
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, March 17, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal for final stage approvals for a mixed-use project by StoneBridge Carras – 1.7M square feet including several residential buildings atop a retail podium featuring a Wegmans grocery store
Details & Issues of Interest:

– The Commission discussed conditions where the applicant and staff were not in agreement including:

Pedestrian connection of open space areas on top of the retail podium & locations of landscaping on the podium
Inclusion of a water feature
Prohibition of events infrastructure like outdoor speakers and amplified music

– Affordable housing – contribution of funds or on-site units valued at $3.4M

– No public speakers weighed in on this item

Land use items we are tracking in April:
• Special Use Permit at 6 Prince Street for Misha’s Coffee Shop
• SUP at 333 John Carlyle Street to permit office use on the ground floor
• Rezoning and Development SUP for the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 901 N Fairfax Street to allow for conversion to residential with new multifamily development and a theatre use

Weigh in on these issues!

Contact the Planning Commission –
Contact the City Council – Call.Click.Connect.