More than a year after it closed, it remains unclear exactly what kind of establishment will replace Vienna’s Amphora Restaurant, but the food will likely be served outside as well as indoors.
The Town of Vienna Planning Commission voted unanimously on Feb. 23 to recommend that the Board of Zoning Appeals grant the request, despite some misgivings related to previous outdoor dining approvals.
Sarantis Properties, which did not immediately return a request for comment, intends to completely renovate the existing 4,882-square-foot building, which was built in 1977 and has experienced few changes since then, Vienna Zoning Administrator Andrea West told the commission.
Planned changes include improvements to the parking lot and a dumpster enclosure, as well as the addition of an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramp at the back of the restaurant.
The developer also hopes to build a new 532-square-foot deck on the southwest side of the property that will have 42 seats for outdoor dining, three of them accessible to people with disabilities, if the permit is approved.
The restaurant will have an additional 170 seats inside.
“That includes bar seating, some banquet seating, booths, and then, tables with individual chairs,” West said.
The planning commission received one public comment from a resident representing the Townes of Vienna community, who expressed concern about potential noise, parking, traffic and environmental impacts of allowing outdoor dining at the restaurant.
An engineer and architect involved with the project noted that Sarantis plans to screen the deck from residential neighbors behind the site with a green wall, and trees will be planted along the parking lot’s perimeter, though a site plan still needs to be submitted to the town’s Board of Architectural Review.
She said the town’s zoning department hasn’t received any noise complaints about those restaurants since they opened in March 2020 and June 2021, respectively, but she didn’t know if police have gotten reports.
Planning Commission Vice Chair David Miller suggested the town should review its outdoor dining requirements, which are tied to the availability of parking spaces.
“Hawk & Griffin isn’t working,” he said. “People are flooding over into other businesses to park there, so we missed something. Our standards aren’t right or something.”
West said the 75 parking spots on the former Amphora site are more than enough to accommodate the 216 seats proposed for the new restaurant, exceeding the 54 spaces that are required.
The Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public hearing and vote on whether to issue the requested outdoor dining permit on March 16.
Rendering via Paramount Construction/Town of Vienna
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