Charlottesville BAR Recommends Changes to Tent Guidelines

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Changes may be coming for Charlottesville restaurants that utilize tents to keep customers warm over the winter.   

Charlottesville City Council has received a recommendation from the Board of Architectural Review suggesting tents only be allowed for up to five days at a time.

Several businesses spoke out Wednesday about how they would be affected by the new tent guidelines.  Alex George, owner of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar on the downtown mall, says without his tent he can't open the upstairs patio in the winter months. 

George says having the tent in place last winter did nothing but benefit the city.  "I have been able to prove that having the tent over that portion of our building has contributed almost $50,000 in taxes to the city for the three and a half months it was up last year," he said.

George says the city will lose $50,000 in taxes during these next winter months, and he will be forced to lay off dozens of employees.  The city says it does want to work something out for his tent to be allowed.  We don't know what this means for other bars and restaurants.

Business owners say taking these tents up and down every five days is nearly impossible, as they are large tents meant to stay in place for a while.  Charlottesville Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos says she doesn't know when any decisions will be made about the recommendation.