Troy considering second proposal for downtown area where people can carry, drink alcohol outside bars

Credit: Jim Witmer

Credit: Jim Witmer

Troy city officials have revised a proposal for establishing a Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area after an initial application was soundly defeated in August.

The new DORA proposal covers a smaller area in the downtown – 20.66 acres versus 40.65 acres – and hours of operation on fewer days. The first proposal was Wednesday through Friday 5 p.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday noon to midnight. The new request is for noon to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

State law allows a DORA where adults 21 years and older can possess or consume alcohol in public with certain restrictions. The DORA participants would be required to have drinks in a special DORA cup.

The new proposal was discussed Monday, Feb. 8, in a work session with City Council and the required application filed Tuesday with the clerk of council by Mayor Robin Oda and Patrick Titterington, city service and safety director.

The Troy Main Street downtown advocacy organization again is supporting the DORA quest.

In the months since council defeated the first proposal, supporters look for added public comment and information from a survey returned by 25 communities across the state with a DORA.

If approved by council, 2021 would be a trial of the DORA with evaluation at year’s end, Titterington said.

Ohio now has 56 communities with DORAs with an average population of 33,000 and average size of 56.44 acres, said Tim Davis, Troy’s development director.

“The creation of a DORA will provide additional economic enhancement for attracting patrons to downtown Troy and highlight the area as a destination for dining and entertainment,” the application to council stated.

During the council work session, council members asked questions before comments were heard from the public, including several downtown business owners.

Andrea Keller, Troy Main Street’s director, said DORAs are being encouraged by the Heritage Ohio organization that oversees Main Street programs. “Especially with COVID, it allows for additional outdoor seating, it increases foot traffic. What we really are excited about is the business collaboration that can happen with a DORA,” Keller said.

She provided council with six statements from businesses supporting DORA and had received verbal comments from four others before the meeting in addition to comments heard and letters submitted.

Police Chief Shawn McKinney said he called give cities similar in size to Troy that have DORAs

“Everybody said they had no additional problems due to DORA,” he told council.

About a half dozen business representatives spoke in favor of DORA saying they believe it would increase business and help the downtown remain competitive with others.

" We have experience with DORA in Liberty Twp. and it has been nothing but positive,,” said Yvonne Sarber of Agave and Rye a new restaurant on the Public Square.  “We are all for it and whatever we can do to help.”

Kelly Snyder, director of the downtown Troy Rec for youth, said she was not fundamentally opposed to the DORA but did have concerns.  Those concerns include trash including in the parking lot next to the Rec that she said is not being picked up regularly. “I know teenagers, that is who I see every day. They see a half empty cup of beer, they are going to drink it if they have the opportunity,” she said.

John Henry, owner of Trojan City Music on East Main Street, said he supports DORA as a business owner 100 percent. “I see this as another step in a positive direction” for downtown Troy, he said, adding those with DORA cups would be welcome in his business.

A council committee meeting on the proposal will be held Feb. 22 followed by legislation before council in March with a proposed vote March 15. If a timeline proposed is followed and council votes to approve, the DORA start up could be noon April 15.

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