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Annandale’s Seoul Plaza to swap parking for outdoor dining space

Seoul Plaza in Annandale (via Google Maps)

Annandale diners could soon see more outdoor seating at Izakaya Khan in Seoul Plaza (4231 Markham Street).

To make room for year-round outdoor dining at the Japanese restaurant, the center will lose off-street parking spaces, dropping its total from 210 to 200 spots. In addition to removing nine regular parking spaces, Seoul Plaza will also remove one accessible parking space to make possible a new trash dumpster layout.

The parking reduction was unanimously approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (June 6).

The new outdoor seating area will be 494 square feet and seat up to 32 people, according to materials provided for the board meeting.

Under the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance, the board has the authority to reduce required off-street parking by up to 20% “subject to conditions it deems appropriate” if the applicant demonstrates that the parking reduction contributes to the goals of a commercial revitalization district.

Seoul Plaza is in the Annandale Commercial Revitalization District. Technically, the zoning ordinance required Seoul Plaza to have 250 parking spots, taking into account its gross square footage and the types of tenants in the shopping center. The 20% reduction will bring the required number of spaces to 200.

“Outdoor dining allows the restaurant to better cater to their customers and makes them more (competitive) with other restaurants that have outdoor dining,” county staff said in the meeting materials. “This shopping center already has a number of vacant tenant spaces so the continued viability of its existing tenants is imperative to the shopping center‘s continued economic viability.”

Although the BOS unanimously approved the request, Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said it will be necessary to follow up “to see if it’s working the way we want it to work.”

In addition to Izakaya Khan, Seoul Plaza features restaurants including Seoul Soondae Restaurant and Release the Craycken.

More broadly, the county is developing new, permanent policies for outdoor dining following pandemic provisions that made it easier for restaurants and other eligible establishments to offer seating outside.

Photo via Google Maps