The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to postpone action on a controversial measure that would have tightened regulations on eating establishments that host dancing.
Responding to an outcry from the county’s dancing community, Board members early Tuesday alerted the public that they would formally vote to defer the hearing scheduled for 4 p.m.
The hearing had been scheduled to consider a proposed zoning code amendment that would impose restrictions on the size of a dance floor in restaurants and other eating establishments unless those businesses applied for a special permit. To obtain a special exception, the businesses would have had to spend more than $16,000 on the application fee alone.
Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully), who chairs the Development Process Committee, said he hoped his panel and staff would study the issue further, seek more public comment and return to the Board with a revised measure before its August recess.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission also urged deferral during a hearing last week, urging county staff to come up with other ways to control the noise and other problems at some eating establishments that say they are restaurants with a dance floor but in fact operate as nightclubs.
The proposed ordinance amendment would limit the size of dance floors to the smaller of either 150 square feet or one-eighth of a restaurant’s dining area. It would also create a new permitting scheme for banquet halls, dinner theatres, hookah bars and other entertainment venues.
With the aid of social media, however, Fairfax County’s dance community organized a passionate opposition to the measure, saying the county’s measure was overkill. Some also raised allegations that the county is targeting establishments popular with minorities.