Troy moving forward with outdoor drinking area idea

Troy City Council members voiced little opposition this week to a proposed Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, in the downtown area.

Creation of a DORA was requested by the Troy Main Street downtown revitalization organization that wrote the district would help provide “a charming, prosperous and interactive downtown Troy.”

State law allows a DORA where adults 21 years and older can possess or consume alcohol in public with certain restrictions.

Council heard about the DORA from Tim Davis, city development director, and Patrick Titterington, service and safety director, but did not vote on any proposal.

The vote would come later in the process, which will include a public hearing Aug. 3 and possible council vote Aug. 17.

Council heard that the DORA:

- Boundary encompasses 40.65 acres in downtown

- Proposed hours would be Wednesday through Friday 5 p.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday noon to midnight

- Allows consumption of beer, wine and intoxicating liquor in the DORA boundaries in specially designated plastic cups. Troy Main Street would purchase and distribute the cups to participating businesses holding liquor permits. No other container would be permitted.

- Sanitation plan would include additional trash containers and a plan developed by the street department

- Safety plan has been developed by the police and fire departments using existing staff.

If the DORA is approved, council could dissolve all or part of it at any time.

The proposed boundaries do not include the Miami County Courthouse or Safety Buildings. Davis met with county commissioners recently to inform them of the DORA proposal. The commissioners said they didn’t want those county properties included in the district, noting the ongoing renovation of the Courthouse Plaza, a more than $3 million project.

Commissioners also were asked to allow inclusion in the DORA of county owned parking lots downtown. Commissioners Jack Evans and Greg Simmons last week expressed reservations about including the lots, airing concerns about trash and law enforcement. They said they would not vote on the proposal until council had a chance to review the proposal.

Troy Councilman Todd Severt said he had no problem with the proposal, noting he attended an activity in a DORA in another community and thought it was well run.

He acknowledged an email to council from Kelly Snyder, director of the Troy Rec for teens downtown. In that letter, Snyder expressed concerns about outdoor drinking in the downtown and plans to ensure unfinished cups of alcohol are not left sitting around the downtown.

“I am not fundamentally opposed to alcohol at special events downtown as there is a designated group that cleans up after (example: Troy Main Street, Troy Chamber of Commerce or City of Troy), but with the DORA there doesn’t seem to be that same oversight,” Snyder wrote. “I know our kids, and I know the hardships they face and the families they come from, and I believe the DORA will open up too many opportunities to entice our kids to make bad decisions.”

Councilman Bill Twiss questioned the need for the district.

“I don’t see the benefit of allowing people to have a drink and roam around downtown,” he said.

Tipp City also is scheduling hearings on creating a DORA in its downtown. City council heard that proposal, whose supporters included the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Tipp City Partnership, in June.

Springfield, Dayton’s Oregon District and Miami Twp. are among other area communities that have established DORAs.

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