SIDNEY — The discussion continued on creating a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, during Sidney City Council’s Monday evening meeting.
City Manager Mark Cundiff provided an overview of the official application city staff and Sidney Alive have been working on for outdoor dining areas on public sidewalks in the downtown area.
A DORA allows patrons who are 21 and older to purchase alcoholic beverages from an approved, liquor-permitted establishment, and then to hangout, shop and explore within designated boundaries.
Listed below is the process to establish a DORA:
• City manager files an application with City Council;
• Within 45 days after the application is filed, council shall publish a public notice of the application once a week for two consecutive weeks in the local paper;
• Not earlier than 30, but not later than 60 days after initial publication, council must approve or disapprove the submitted application. To approve, council must pass an ordinance;
• Council must send notice of the approval and a description of the DORA to the Division of Liquor Control and the Investigative Unit in the Department of Public Safety;
• If disapproved, the city manager may make changes to secure approval.
The application process is as follows:
• Map of proposed DORA, must not exceed 150 contiguous acres.
• General statement about the types of establishments that will be in the DORA.
• State DORA will have at least four qualified liquor permit holders.
• Provide evidence uses of land in the DORA are compliant with zoning regulations.
• Proposed requirements for enduring public health and safety, such as the number of trash cans, and police in the area.
DORA participants will be identified by gearing them with wristbands and/or specific, identifying cups.
Cundiff said the nine-block downtown area planned for the DORA’s boundaries were adjusted slightly from the original area previously discussed. Residential properties and a church will not be included. The DORA will be 34.46 acres in size. It is primarily zoned in the B-5 court square business district with a small area of B-1 local business district.
The proposed hours of operation will be: Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, noon to midnight; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
Council member Jenny VanMatre questioned the cup versus wrist band policy. She felt adding $1 for every cup sold was a little expensive, as the cups could not be reused, and it may deter people from participating in the district. Council member Ed Hamaker agreed and felt using a wrist band was the best plan to go forward. Mayor Mike Barhorst also agreed that may be a little expensive.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked if the area where the Shelby County Job and Family Services building is located, at the intersection of South Ohio Avenue and West South Street, should be included in the district boundaries. There was a brief discussion among council members about the benefit of parking being available in the area. Ultimately, members agreed keeping the boundaries for each side of the street the same and as simple as possible would be best.
Cundiff told Hamaker, when asked, DORA signage would be installed on existing poles or buildings wherever possible. Barhorst expressed concern there may be too many signs in the area.
Barhorst also asked if the liquor permit currently pending for KB’s Tap House, on South Ohio Avenue, was one of the revitalization liquor license permits. Cundiff said he would need to confirm that information with Sidney Alive the next day. The revitalization licenses contains a provision, Cundiff said, a certain percentage of the total sales must come from food sales; it was noted KB’s Tab House offers chips.
Council member Steven Klingler questioned if the City Carry Out, on North Ohio Avenue, could participate in the DORA. Cundiff said it was his understanding the Carry Out’s current liquor permit was for pre-packaged sales only. City Carry Out would have to apply for a different permit in order to sell alcohol in the open containers, he said.
At the end of the discussion, Cundiff said he would begin the process stated in the Ohio Revised Code to properly establish the district.
In other business, at the end of Monday’s meeting, Barhorst reminded all the Civic Band concert is scheduled for Saturday, July 4, at 9 p.m., with the fireworks to begin at 10 p.m.
Cundiff said the “grandest fireworks display” coinciding with Sidney’s Bicentennial Celebrations, will be twice as large this year as normal. He said many people are expected to come from out of town, so he advised everyone to find their spot to watch the fireworks early.
He also reminded the public city offices will be closed on Friday, July 3, 2020, in observance of Independence Day. There will no delay for trash collection.
Council members Darryl Thurber and Steve Wagner were both absent Monday and were excused by council.
In final business, City Council also went into an executive session to consider the appointment of a public official, and for matters required to be kept confidential by federal law or regulations or state statute. No action was taken when members emerged from the session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.