Dayton could soon decide on outdoor drinking area in Oregon District

Less than six weeks from now, Dayton leaders could decide whether to allow the Oregon District to become the first place in the city where people can legally drink alcohol outside on the street.

The Oregon District Business Association has applied to make the East Fifth Street corridor from the Dayton Convention Center to Bainbridge Street a designated outdoor refreshment area.

The city has set a public hearing to gather feedback about the application on March 4, at the weekly Dayton City Commission meeting.

If the application moves forward, the commission would likely vote to approve or deny the request at its March 11 meeting.

“In terms of checking the boxes — do you address what you’re supposed to address — I think they’ve done that,” said Tony Kroeger, Dayton’s planning manager. “Where it goes from here will really come down to the city manager and city commission.”

MORE: Oregon District businesses seek city OK for outdoor drinking

Last month, the city received a petition from the Oregon District Business Association that requests making a roughly 0.6-mile stretch of East Fifth Street a designated outdoor refreshment area.

The refreshment area would stretch from the convention center and the Crowne Plaza Dayton to the west to just beyond the Dublin Pub and Franco's Ristorante Italiano to the east.

Under the proposal, participating Fifth Street businesses would be able to sell beer, wine and liquor in special cups or containers that can be taken outside on the street.

Consumers would have to dispose of the cups before entering other establishments that sell alcohol.

The drinking district’s hours of operation would be noon to midnight Monday through Sunday.

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) and the last Saturday of October (Hauntfest) would be the only days of the year the district is not in operation.

The application is still being reviewed by city departments including police, fire, public works, planning and law, Kroeger said.

The business association says it already met with a variety of stakeholders before submitting its application, including city and police department staff and Oregon Historic District Society trustees.

The association said feedback was generally positive and stakeholders only raised concerns about sanitation and enforcement practices, the application states.

MORE: Oregon District may apply to be outdoor drinking area

City staff are expected to send Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein a report with recommendations about the outdoor drinking area, with potential conditions or changes.

The petition outlines plans for signage, rules and guidelines and trash and sanitation policies, such as adding 15 recycling containers.

City staff, for example, could recommend changes to the number of recycling containers, the amount of signage or the exact boundary lines.

Kroeger, however, said the petition met the requirements for consideration by the city.

City staff talked with other jurisdictions that have outdoor drinking districts and they didn’t share any major concerns, Kroeger said.

Many places in Ohio have outdoor drinking areas, he said, and communities seem to be generally pleased with how they’ve operated and how popular they’ve been with fun-seekers.

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