Letter to the Editor: ‘Secret Garden’ beer garden would not be magical

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Letter to the Editor: ‘Secret Garden’ beer garden would not be magical
Beer flight (Courtesy photo)
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To the Editor:

On behalf of the Mount Vernon Court Community Association, I am writing to voice opposition to a proposal to open a beer garden, called “The Secret Garden,” in the rear parking lot of the current Senor Chicken at 3400 Mt. Vernon Ave. This proposal would do little to spur growth, development and jobs nor will it improve the neighborhoods of Arlandria and Del Ray. Instead, it would create noise and safety issues that would negatively affect our community and the surrounding neighborhoods.

MVCCA is an association of 30 townhomes at the northern end of Del Ray, bordering Arlandria and Warwick Village. It is immediately adjacent to the businesses on the 3400 block of “The Avenue” at the corner of W. Glebe and Mt. Vernon Ave. Senor Chicken is located between a 7-11 and a laundromat, with a parking lot in the rear. Our homes and front yards are visible from the rear parking lot where the outdoor beer garden would be located.

We have 22 children in our community – most under the age of five, many of who go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. The noise and disruption coming from 30 people
in an outdoor beer garden until 9 p.m. – or 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays – is significant and would affect the health and welfare of our community.

Additional concerns are:

1) The outdoor beer garden in the back parking lot of the shopping center is hidden and out of view. It would not contribute to neighborhood vitality. All other restaurants and bars in Arlandria and Del Ray are street side, thus contributing to a lively street scene and a healthy neighborhood vibe.

2) Pedestrian safety is a major concern in Arlandria and Del Ray. Adding alcohol sales and consumption is the last thing the crowded shopping center parking lot at
the intersection of W. Glebe Road and Mt. Vernon Avenue needs. Though improved, the intersection continues to be dangerous. Ingress and egress from the existing parking lot onto Mt. Vernon is difficult and will face additional pressures with a beer
garden.

3) The hours of operation for the indoor bar until 2 a.m. is outside the norm for restaurants and bars in Arlandria and Del Ray.

This proposal does not enhance and improve the streetscape and the neighborhood vibe. The outdoor seating is hidden behind the building to such an extent that the name of the proposed beer garden is “The Secret Garden.” The proposed Secret Garden has
almost nothing in common with Alexandria’s planning goals for Arlandria and Del Ray or with the businesses that make up Del Ray and Arlandria that my neighbors and I so value.

-Al Havinga, president, MVCCA

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