Troy’s DORA proposal open for comments

TROY — On Monday, Troy City Council met in a workshop session regarding the city’s second attempt to add a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) district to the downtown area.

The second proposal narrowed down its hours to noon to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The alcoholic beverages purchased with the official cup can be consumed outdoors within the DORA and only during official DORA hours. The second proposal of the DORA is 20.6 acres.

Public comments can be presented in-person at the Hobart Arena’s Bravo Room at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 during its committee meeting and emailed to Sue Knight at sue.knight@troyohio.gov prior to the committee meeting. If approved at the committee level, the DORA’s first reading will be on March 1 during the regular council meeting. If all legislation follows the proposed timeline, the DORA could be implemented as soon as April 15.

On Wednesday, City of Troy’s Development Director Tim Davis said staff did more research and surveys after the first proposal was rejected by city council.

“I think that information hopefully came out and it was clear to them that we had put the time in and reached out to other communities to see what they were doing and the best way to run a DORA,” Davis said.

Davis said city staff took into account the days and hours are below the average of other communities and Thursday, Friday and Saturday were good times to try the DORA.

With the first DORA proposal, Troy residents expressed their concerns with trash, coronavirus spread, intoxicated patrons inside businesses, and damage to the city’s family-friendly downtown atmosphere.

Troy Rec Executive Director Kelly Snyder said the second proposal is better than the first with the limited days and smaller district footprint, yet Snyder said the noon hour was a concern due to the youth that uses the Rec as well as the daycare throughout the day Monday through Friday at the center.

Another issue Snyder said is the trash that accumulates over the weekend at the city-owned lot adjacent to the Rec center.

Snyder said she’s not opposed to the DORA itself, but she is still concerned about trash and if DORA cups are discarded in a manner that a child could pick it up off the street and drink it.

“I’m not feeling confident yet that there’s enough in (the DORA agreement) to take care of the trash issue,” Snyder said.

Troy Police Department Chief Shawn McKinney said it wasn’t the department’s place to provide a statement of support for or against the DORA, but he said he personally contacted five other community police departments that have DORAs. Chief McKinney said he spoke with Greenville, Tipp City, Fairborn, Lebanon and Sidney about their experiences and they didn’t report any issues to him directly. McKinney said if Troy’s DORA experience is similar to those communities’ feedback in terms of law enforcement, “we can effectively police it.”

In a DORA, alcoholic beverages can be purchased at one location, but cannot be carried into another establishment. Non-liquor establishments may permit or prohibit DORA beverages in their stores at their own discretion. The permit must be re-certified every five years, but the city proposes it will reevaluate the DORA at the end of 2021 if accepted.

Qualified permit holders would be the former Brewery, the Elks, The Redmen Club, Harens’ Market, Mojos Bar and Grille, Agave and Rye, Leaf and Vine, The Caroline, Studio 14 Creative Arts Center, The Submarine House, Moeller Brew Barn, Basils on Market, Tokyo Peking, and the One Stop Drive-Thru. The former site of the Little York Tavern is also included in the proposed district.

Approximately 56 Ohio communities have established a DORA since 2015. The average size of a DORA district is 51 acres and 84 percent of all DORAs in Ohio open their DORA throughout the entire week, although Troy is only proposing the weekends.

On Aug. 17, Troy City Council voted down the first proposed Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area. Troy’s first DORA had the proposed hours of 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday-Friday and noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday. The city of Troy reduced the size of the first proposed DORA from 41 acres down to 21 acres and focused on the downtown area. The first proposed DORA district was not supported by Troy City Council’s Health and Safety Committee. Council member at-large Zachary Allen was the lone yes vote for the DORA. Council members expressed their concerns with the consistency of days and hours of the DORA and if it would have a positive impact on local businesses.