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Tonight community members of the Westover neighborhood in Arlington, Va., have been asked to voice their opinion about the fate of the Westover Market beer garden, which has been under scrutiny since last August. The Tara-Lee Highway Civic Association is hosting a forum at 7:00PM at the Westover Library for the market’s owners, supporters, and those with concerns to find a way the beer garden can operate without disturbing its neighbors.

Last August after complaints about noise from live entertainment, county officials found Westover Market in violation of their current zoning code, which limits outdoor seating to 9 seats and does not permit live bands. Since then, according to the Arlington County website and posts at ARLNow and TBD, owner Devin Hicks has worked with the county to make necessary changes to operate as a restaurant and apply for a live music permit. Upgrades include accessible bathrooms, proper kitchen facilities, a 20-seat restaurant, a small bar, and expanded outdoor seating with tables and canopies.

Despite an outpouring of support, the home of the Great Wall of Beer has continued to face complaints about sound levels and smoke from outdoor fire pits. Tonight’s meeting is intended to be a forum for the community to come up with solutions the owners can present to the Arlington County Board of Zoning Appeals at an upcoming hearing this spring.

If Arlington County and its citizens can solve this dilemma, it will be a step down a more permissive track toward nightclubs and live entertainment in Arlington. Allowing an outdoor beer garden (granted one that is often filled with children dancing to the soft music of acoustic guitars and which closes by 10:00PM on weekends and 9:00PM on week days) could help Arlingtonians shed the bad wrap against fun some of them have been racking up lately.

Photo courtesy of Westover Market

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