Miamisburg likely getting outdoor drinking area after referendum effort falls short

An outdoor drinking area likely will start later this month after a group seeking to have voters decide the issue failed to meet Thursday’s deadline.

The group fighting a city council-approved Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, did not file the necessary paperwork to get the issue on the November ballot, both the city and a group organizer said.

Petitions were not filed by Thursday’s deadline due to lack of signatures, Miamisburg attorney Tom Croskey said.

The effort “fell significantly short” of the more than 2,100 valid signatures required for the referendum, he said.

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After city council approved the 40-acre DORA early last month, Miamisburg Mayor Michelle Collins said the new district would go into effect June 4 and, once approved by state authorities, could be operational by mid- to late June.

Croskey declined to say how many signatures short the petition effort was. He said organizers decided not to release the final count.

He said those opposing council’s decision would regroup and focus on an initiative effort, likely next year.

The group needed to collect valid signatures from 15% of the registered voters in Miamisburg in the 2018 gubernatorial election, according to the city.

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There were 14,420 Miamisburg registered voters then, Montgomery County Board of Elections records show. That translates into 2,163 signatures, Croskey said.

By state law, an outdoor drinking area only allows patrons at any of the participating establishments to purchase and carry an open alcoholic beverage in a designated plastic cup, typically with hours of the DORA on the cup itself. Signs posted throughout the area tell participants they may not bring their drinks everywhere in the district, only in places where they are allowed and only during posted hours.

Hours for the area would be 4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 4 to 11 p.m. Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Council approved the DORA as a means of assisting downtown businesses, Collins has said. Croskey said the group is not against a drinking district, it simply wanted voters to decide the issue.

If the drinking area causes problems, Collins has said, “it will be shut down. It can go away with the stroke of a pen.”

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