A Planning Commission endorsement of Vola’s Dockside Grill’s (101 N. Union) expansion plans came with two notes: the city should loosen up on its Torpedo Factory-adjacent noise restrictions and there’s a regrettable dearth of vegetarian options in Old Town.
The Planning Commission voted 6-0 with one recusal in favor of Vola’s plans to permanently convert the former Riverside Taco area into more outdoor seating.
In the meeting, Planning Commission chair Nathan Macek said the city should do more to simplify conditions and be a little less prudish when it comes to noise on the waterfront.
“We need to simplify conditions where possible so we’re not making the same statement over and over about the noise ordinance with three or four different conditions that do that,” Macek said.
“We need to be straightforward and precise and do that once.”
The change also allows more outdoor entertainment at the site, like removing restrictions on live entertainment prior to Torpedo Factory closing hours.
“I think we were too restrictive in our original recommendations at the taco site,” Macek said. “I’m less concerned with whether this penetrates the walls of the Torpedo Factory. It’s not a hospital. It’s not a senior citizen home. It is something we’re trying to make vibrant and I think these conditions would allow for what we’re really after… to make our waterfront a lively place.”
Commissioner David Brown also expressed support for the application, saying the expansion is a positive sign of the restaurant’s stability.
“We’re going through a time when many restaurants have been going through a real economic wringer,” Brown said. “This is a sure sign of a restaurant that is succeeding. As someone who had the pleasure for all too brief a time of knowing and working with Vola Lawson, I think she’d be really pleased that her namesake restaurant is succeeding.”
The one lament Planning Commissioners had was that the application marked the final nail in the coffin of hopes that Riverside Taco would return.
“It was a sad day when that taco truck stopped serving tacos,” Macek said. “I wish Vola’s had as many vegetarian options as the taco truck did.”
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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA