One of the most popular areas to drink beer and cocktails in Dayton may soon try to become the first place in the city where people can legally drink outside on the street.
The Oregon District Business Association is working on a petition to create a new designated outdoor refreshment area.
The city approved the procedures for creating outdoor drinking areas four years ago, but until now, there have been no serious attempts to establish such a district, city officials said.
The Oregon District Business Association plans to submit a petition in partnership with multiple businesses in the district that want to let people take their drinks outside.
“We’re working together to create a plan that is beneficial for all the business owners in the district, as well as our stakeholders like our neighbors, the historic district and some other downtown partners as well,” said Carolyn DesJardin, executive director of the Oregon District Business Association.
In 2015, Ohio approved a new law that lets cities create districts where people can carry and consume alcohol outside.
The idea certainly was not new: Some popular tourist destinations have long allowed merrymakers to imbibe alcohol in public, like Nashville and Memphis, Tenn., New Orleans, La., and Las Vegas.
Today, large Ohio cities have open-container areas, including Cleveland and Cincinnati, and so do some smaller cities, like Middletown.
The Oregon District Business Association is working with a number of businesses that want to establish a designated outdoor refreshment area on East Fifth Street, said DesJardin.
She said details like the boundary lines are still being worked out and she declined to identify the exact area under consideration.
She said more information will be available when the petition is submitted.
“We are close,” DesJardin said. “I think this will be big for Dayton.”
Cities of Dayton’s size can have two districts. Until now, there has not been a serious effort to establish an outdoor drinking area, city officials said.
In a new outdoor drinking area, patrons would be allowed to carry alcoholic beverages outside when they leave participating businesses. The Oregon District already hosts some events that allow people to drink alcohol outside, though the drinks come from beer tents and trucks.
“I think the interest has always been there, but we just want to do it the right way and make sure that we take into consideration everything we should,” DesJardin said. “I think we’re in a position where we can move forward.”
The business association has been in contact with the city about preparing a petition, and staff from various departments will provide input when the petition is submitted, said Tony Kroeger, Dayton’s planning manager.
Petitions need to have a map of the proposed designated outdoor drinking area, signatures of at least four qualified liquor permit holders, the proposed hours of operation of the district, a list of property addresses in the boundary and an implementation plan.
Petitions will be reviewed by city staff including representatives from the police, public works, economic development, law and planning and community development departments.
That group will evaluate criteria such as support from impacted stakeholders, the potential impact on health and public safety and the city’s ability to provide necessary services to the outdoor drinking area.
A report of their review and findings will be sent to the city manager, who will decide whether to submit an application to the Dayton City Commission for a vote.
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