New regulations may lead to changes at The Lilly Pad

How one Henrico restaurant's popularity is leading to new regulations
Posted at 12:22 AM, Mar 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-27 19:46:33-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The Lilly Pad, a restaurant in eastern Henrico, is at risk of not being able to operate as it has due to its recent growth in popularity.

While The Lilly Pad has served the community since 1958, the Varina restaurant came under new ownership about three years ago.

The new owners introduced a new menu, events, and vibe to the riverfront restaurant.

“It’s become so successful, people love that restaurant. It’s an incredible experience. It’s a jewel for the community,” attorney William Shewmake said.

That growth is why the owners are getting Shewmake involved to help.

According to county documents, Henrico officials reached out to the Lilly Pad in November. They said the property now required a provisional use permit due to its growth in uses.

Shewmake said it makes where it was non-conforming where they had a right before, but the laws changed to conforming under the existing rules and regulation.

“We’re making sure we put conditions in that limit any impact to any nearby neighbors given the success," he said.

To get that permit they have to submit different information to the county. They then can hold a community meeting before officials.

Then zoning officials make a permit recommendation to the board of supervisors. The county has already received multiple letters for officials to consider.

One read:

“We view the Lilly Pad as a huge asset to the area and one of the many reasons we chose to reside at this marina.”

Another said, “They have done a great job at making this a destination for all."

One advocating against the permit said, “a quiet neighborly restaurant is what our neighborhood expected, but sadly we ended up with a restaurant by day and a nightclub by night."

Since the permit was under review the restaurant chose to bring in a sound expert. They had them determine the volume they can play for music to not impact neighbors.

“From the results of that we determined we can be an even better neighbor,” he said.

Finally, the owners created this Facebook event for the community meeting on April 4. They called it Save the Lilly Pad.

“I think when you’re going through a provisional use permit the county has assured us that they are working with us. I’m confident we are going through this process collaboratively. But it is always important for county leaders to hear the support when you are going through the process,” he said.

The county said they are not able to comment on pending permits. However, it will be reviewed on May 12.

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