With the many outdoor developments here in Northern Virginia, it’s easy to hit two birds with one stone for your Saturday afternoon plans. You can do a little perusing at local retailers, grab a bite to eat and a cocktail to sip on from an adjacent restaurant, then proceed on your way to finish the shopping trip.
Soon though, you might be able to take that drink with you in smaller complexes like Market Common Clarendon and the Village at Shirlington, thanks to a recently introduced bill by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington.
Currently, state law permits residents to get a drink at a restaurant within a shopping center and leave to walk around under the “commercial lifestyle center license,” but the law is restricted to mixed-use developments of at least 25 acres, according to Virginia ABC.
Favola’s bill would reduce the acreage requirement needed for open-container usage to include developments of at least 10 acres, so long as the space consists of a mix of dining, entertainment, retail and residential or hotel sites, as specified by the law.
As of now, according to Public Relations Manager of Virginia ABC Dawn Eichen, there are four locations in Virginia that currently have a commercial lifestyle center license, three of which are in NoVA. The four include Fairfax Corner, Loudoun Station, the Village at Leesburg and 5th Street Station in Charlottesville. Two developments—First & Main in Blacksburg and National Landing in Arlington—have pending applications.
The pending legislation introduced by Favola was approved by the Senate on Jan. 15, and, according to Eichen, is set to be considered by the house in coming months. If the bill becomes law in the future, ABC regulation would be edited.
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