By Joe Haggerty, President and CEO, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce (File photo)
To the editor:
At almost every ribbon cutting we attend, we hear from business owners about the challenges they faced in getting their doors open. That is why we at the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce were quick to offer our full support when the city department of planning and zoning proposed changes to the administrative special use permit process earlier this year.
These amendments would streamline the process for businesses to obtain special use permits to operate in the city. And on June 18, city council voted 6-1 in favor of these changes.
Per the small business zoning website, the approved changes are as follows:
• Allow administrative review of special use permits for certain uses that previously required a full hearing before the city planning commission and city council;
• Allow certain uses requiring a special use permit to be allowed by right;
• Update various use categories and definitions to clarify and identify certain uses; and
• Amend the criteria for some minor amendments as well as the outdoor dining administrative review.
City council’s action included definition updates and clarifications regarding businesses providing pet and animal care, food and beverage production, and light and general automotive services. Other revisions extend the parking exemption for outdoor restaurant seating citywide if located on private property and make minor changes regarding restaurant and business expansions.
These changes will save business owners real time and money.
Those of us in the business community have heard many times about how lengthy the process can be to get a business up and running, so we would like to applaud and thank the six members of city council who recognized that these amendments were a small but significant step in helping businesses get their doors open sooner.
Your positive action has been noticed and appreciated by Alexandria’s business community, and the chamber joins in this recognition.