The Arlington County Zoning Ordinance (ACZO) does not define “live entertainment.” It has been the consistent administrative practice to define “Live Entertainment” as follows: any entertainment involving performances, or delivery of entertainment by one or more persons.
- A musical ensemble
- Solo performers
- Theatrical acts (when performed in a venue other than a theater)
Although every set of facts must be determined individually, live entertainment would not usually include things like piped-in background music, where no “live” person is actively involved in the playing of the music. Note that the ACZO only permits “live entertainment” in association with a restaurant and after the approval of a Special Exception Use Permit by the County Board. Additionally, dancing is only permitted per the County Code where a live entertainment use permit has been granted.
The foregoing statement is advice of the Zoning Administrator, only, and is subject to change and is not subject to appeal. It is provided solely for information and in an effort to assist the public. It may not be relied upon as legal advice or as creating any vested right to any use.
Some districts permit “nightclub or restaurant.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a nightclub as including a restaurant, and therefore a nightclub would be permitted to apply for a live entertainment use permit.