Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ask The Arlington County Board To Support Live Music

Westover Market Beer GardenThere's a compromise on live music at the Westover Market Beer Garden that both the Beer Garden owners and the Westover Civic Association support. But will that be enough for the Arlington County Board to give its approval?

A fan of the Beer Garden writes with details of the compromise:
The basic compromise is that the Beer Garden would have live entertainment Fri and Sat nights (6-10) and some Wednesday open-mic nights (6-8), so long as the Market complied with the decibel limits set out by the county noise ordinance. It was decided not to focus on what type of noise is permissible (TVs or no TVs, drums or no drums, acoustic or amplified), but rather the decibel limit. Also it is the responsibility of the Westover Market to ensure that its entertainment comply with those limits or risk losing their permit.
The compromise was approved at a Westover Civic Association meeting with an astounding 90 out of 109 votes. Another 13 people supported live music with additional restrictions, and 6 people voted to oppose music under any circumstances.

With that kind of overwhelming community support, what is the county worried about? The fan of the Beer Garden gives his take on what a county liaison told the meeting:
Even though the Westover neighborhood is strongly in favor of the Beer Garden's music permit, the county is most concerned about setting precedent for the rest of the county by allowing live music at the Beer Garden. [...]

What was most frustrating is that the members of the community debated with each other at length to find a compromise that nearly everyone supports only to learn that the county is more concerned with the precedent than what the neighbors want.
Given that Westover Market Beer Garden is bending over backwards to be a good citizen (there's talk of having a decibel meter on hand in the Garden at all times), I can't imagine the County Board rejecting this compromise. Especially given that over the last year Arlington County has been accused of being hostile to everything from businesses to music to fun, this vote will be a key bellwether of whether the County Board is backing up its conciliatory words with progressive deeds.

Please email the Arlington County Board right now to let board members know you support live music in the Westover Market Beer Garden. Then if you can, attend Saturday's Arlington County Board meeting and speak at 8:30am during the pre-meeting public comment session.

Photo via Flickr's ThunderCheese
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