Downtown outdoor alcohol legislation moving forward – Chillicothe Gazette

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Under current law, restaurants like Fire & Stone Pizzeria that want to allow patrons to consume alcohol while dining outdoors must have fencing around their patio areas. Should a DORA district be created downtown, the fencing would not be required by law but local lawmakers would have the ability to decide to allow it to remain if the restaurant so chooses.(Photo: Gazette file photo)Buy Photo

CHILLICOTHE – A movement to allow outdoor alcohol consumption in certain designated areas downtown following a change in state law is picking up steam.

On Wednesday, the Downtown Development Commission unanimously agreed with a recommendation from the Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce asking that City Council agree to allow the mayor to apply for the creation of a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in the First Capital District.

A DORA allows cities to create specific boundaries within which businesses with qualifying liquor permits may allow outdoor consumption of the alcohol they sell without having to have a fenced-in area to do so. It also allows people to sip and stroll throughout a DORA district only during specific special events that receive prior approval, so long as they have specially marked plastic cups that show from which establishment they purchased their drinks.

Prior to April, a DORA option was only available to municipalities of greater than 35,000 people. A change in state law, however, then made the option available to smaller communities.

Chamber President and CEO Randy Davies, who is also a DDC member, researched DORAs after a presentation last month by Worthington economic development director David McCorkle. In the resulting recommendation that, with the DDC’s expression of support Wednesday, will be presented to Mayor Luke Feeney, Davies suggests the move will have several benefits for the future of the downtown.

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