Troy’s DORA gets committee approval

TROY — The Health and Safety Committee will provide a positive recommendation to Troy City Council regarding the city’s second proposal of a drinking district in downtown Troy.

On Monday, committee chairman John Terwilliger and committee members Jeff Schilling and Bill Rozell gave their OK to move forward with the city’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA).

Council will review the recommendation at its next council meeting next Monday.

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. If all legislation follows the proposed timeline, the DORA could be implemented as soon as April 15.

Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said the DORA would begin once signage and beverage service training was complete.

Committee chair Terwilliger asked who would be reviewing the DORA, if approved, after one year, if it was implemented.

Titterington said council would have the final say to expand it, keep it the same, and keep it in place up to five years before it is reviewed again. Titterington said the city of Middletown recently renewed its DORA and expanded its boundaries for another five years. Streets, parks, police, and other departments would provide input along with Troy Main Street, restaurants, and drinking establishments.

Terwilliger also asked if DORA would benefit businesses or be used as a platform for the program. Titterington said COVID-19 restrictions and their impact on restaurants and bars have benefited those establishments in DORA districts and are a “key tool” to engage the public to support downtown businesses in the 20 communities city staff have surveyed.

“It’s just one more tool that people and businesses and liquor establishments have to keep a vibrant downtown especially in the times we are in,” Titterington said.

Mayor Robin Oda said the DORA is a state initiative to offer communities a way to engage the public.

Titterington said many communities implemented their DORAs last year because of the pandemic. Titterington said the city installed more benches downtown and will “be more a vibrant” downtown atmosphere.

Committee member Jeff Schilling said the DORA should positively impact the alcohol permit holders.

Troy Main Street Executive Director Andrea Keller spoke in support of the revised DORA. She also shared that the Miami County Visitors Bureau was also in support of the initiative as are the majority of retail establishments. Titterington said signage would be available for businesses to advertise they do not permit DORA drinks in their stores.

Troy Rec Executive Director Kelly Snyder again spoke out against the DORA only due to the hours on Thursday and Friday being open during school hours. She said she felt a little bit better about the trash schedule, but was still concerned that students would be able to access alcohol in some fashion.

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.

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. 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.