Lilly Pad permit would limit live music volume and hours on Varina site

A community meeting was held at the Lilly Pad last month as part of the dockside restaurant’s application for a new permit to continue operations. (Jonathan Spiers photos)

The party doesn’t seem to be over for The Lilly Pad, though the popular dockside restaurant in east Henrico may soon have a county-enforced curfew.

A proposed interim use permit for the restaurant and Kingsland’s largest marina would limit live music to certain times and decibel levels, among other conditions that county staff are recommending after determining the expanded restaurant has exceeded the metrics. a previous permit.

Complaints from some neighbors and area residents about noise from live music and an increase in concerts at the Lilly Pad prompted the county to require owners Max and Karen Walraven to apply for and obtain a new permit to put the restaurant in compliance with the new zoning rules and to address these concerns.

The proposed permit, which is to be presented to the Planning Commission at its meeting this Thursday, would limit live music to 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 5-11 a.m. Saturday and 1-11 a.m. Sunday. The Lilly Pad is currently closed on Mondays.

It would also ban dine-in hours from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The restaurant’s website says it currently operates from 4pm to 10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4am to 11am on Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 11pm on Saturdays, and noon to 10pm on Sundays.

The Lilly Pad restaurant is the centerpiece of Kingsland Marina. (File photo courtesy of The Lilly Pad)

A noise study conducted at the site in late March recommended the use of a sound level limiter to limit any amplified live music to 98 decibels, which the permit says would keep the volume at 55 decibels at the perimeter of the property. Lilly Pad’s 10-acre property off Osborne Turnpike is adjacent to a residence to the south and Osborne Boat Landing to the north.

The permit would also require that a 100 foot treed buffer between the marina and the residence to the south be maintained and preserved. The Walravens had asked to only commit to a 20-foot buffer because they planned to build their own residence on the property, according to an email sent to the county by their attorney Will Shewmake.

County documents contain a petition supporting The Lilly Pad with more than 300 signatures, as well as numerous letters of support from restaurant patrons and area residents.

Among them is a letter from Andy Edmunds, a local resident and director of the Virginia Film Office, who describes the Walravens’ improvements as a benefit to the community. He noted the location’s appeal to members of the film crew and actors such as Michael Keaton and Ewan McGregor, who frequented the restaurant during filming in Richmond.

A search of the county file by BizSense found three emails expressing concerns about noise and traffic that have increased with The Lilly Pad’s expansion. Two residents said they could hear live music from their homes a mile or more away.

More than 150 people attended the meeting to show their support for The Lilly Pad’s permit application.

A report from county staff for the permit indicates that Henrico issued a building permit for the expansion in 2020, but additional improvements were made to the exterior of the building that were not reflected in the permit application. .

These additional upgrades included a 5,600 square foot outdoor dining area along a new deck over the water, a 400 square foot concert stage, two tents covering part of the dining area, and a 1,300 square foot guest waiting area and additional outdoor dining area at restaurant entrance.

Max Walraven said he invested $250,000 in the upgrades, which allowed the restaurant to accommodate up to 150 customers, according to the report.

A site visit in October revealed other violations, including an extension cord feeding a public address system that ran through the kitchen. The county required that the cord be replaced with permanent wiring, and permits were needed for the tents, a range hood, and a brick pizza oven that were installed.

The county had also issued a stop work order regarding the placement of dredge soil without a county-approved erosion and sediment control plan. Walraven also had to apply for a floodplain development permit, documents show.

Some Lilly Pad supporters arrived by boat.

Despite these violations, county planning staff are supporting the new permit application with proposed conditions, which also address permitted uses, concept and site plans, location of outdoor music, parking and signage.

At a community meeting held at the Lilly Pad in April, more than 150 people showed up to support the restaurant and rally attendance at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings. None of the speakers who addressed the crowd spoke in opposition.

Among those who spoke was David Napier, owner of Old City Bar and White House Catering in Richmond, who said he bought his first boat from Kingsland Marina 40 years ago.

“I encourage people in the opposition to bend a little for the greater good,” Napier said, adding that he had heard some people describe the new Lilly Pad as a nightclub.

“My business is in Shockoe Bottom and I know what a nightclub is. It’s not a nightclub,” Napier said. “People who come here have to get home before the nightclubs open.”

Lilly Pad owners Max and Karen Walraven with their daughters Sydney, left, and Lola.

Walraven, who was present with Karen and their two daughters, said he was overwhelmed by the show of support.

“I had no idea how much support we would get. It almost made me want to cry,” he said.

Walraven added that he received encouragement from supervisor Tyrone Nelson, who represents the Varina district which includes the marina and was also in attendance.

“He was really positive and said they would help us through this, so I think we’re on an upward trajectory,” Walraven said.

About Octavia A. Dorr

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