Troy’s DORA challenged

TROY — Residents seeking to reverse Troy City Council’s decision to add an outdoor drinking district have filed a referendum that has been submitted to the city auditor’s office.

On March 15, Troy City Council voted 7-2 to approve the ordinance to apply for a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) application. Council members Bill Rozell and Bill Twiss voted “no” for the DORA.

On Wednesday, Mayor Robin Oda confirmed the petition was filed earlier this week. According to the Ohio Revised Code, the auditor’s office holds the referendum for 10 days before submitting it to the Miami County Board of Elections to certify valid registered voter signatures. It needs 882 valid signatures to be placed on the November ballot for voters. The DORA has not been “launched” at this time and will not commence until the referendum has been verified by the board of elections and, if validated, goes on the November ballot.

Resident Dave Pinkerton said he and a group of approximately 18-20 people, circulated the petition and gathered 1,107 signatures to put the DORA out to vote for all residents to consider — not just nine city council members.

Pinkerton said they felt the DORA was “pushed through” and deserved to go to a third reading instead of just the two it received.

Pinkerton said, “Troy is a family town, and this alcohol out in front of the public is not a good idea.”

Pinkerton said while some proponents of the DORA claim that other towns have had no issue with their DORA, he doesn’t believe that’s the case.

“Wherever you have alcohol, you’re going to have problems,” he said.

Pinkerton said one can’t compare Troy to other DORA towns because of the students walking through downtown, the number of alcohol establishments, and the two drug/alcohol recovery centers located in or near the proposed district.

Pinkerton said one concern is the noon hour the DORA would go into effect on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and its impact on the hundreds of children leaving school and walking through the downtown area around 2:30-3 p.m. each school day.

“The mind is just like a bucket, my friends, it’s filled with whatever you put in it. Seeing people drinking all the alcohol just isn’t good,” Pinkerton said.

Pinkerton said using the economic impact of adding a DORA is exaggerated.

Pinkerton said he’s critical of Mayor Robin Oda and Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington and Troy Main Street in their support of adding DORA to Troy.

“You folks were hired to help Troy, not hinder it,” he said. “You have hurt our town so much getting this through, and if it goes through, you’ll hurt this town eternally.”

Pinkerton said he’s heard multiple stories of public intoxication incidents like beer bottles thrown through doors or windows and people urinating in public.

“First it was Hobart Arena, then it was Treasure Island — it’s gotten out of hand,” he said.

Troy’s DORA application was approved by the state around April 1. The designated drinking area is 21 acres and is centered around the downtown. The city’s second proposal narrowed down DORA hours to noon to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

The DORA was supported by Troy Main Street with 29 downtown businesses in support and four with either no opinion or against the district. Mayor Robin Oda approved of the DORA as a way to support local businesses and touted it as “a great way to reintroduce residents and visitors to our struggling but resilient historic downtown economy.”

Troy’s First United Methodist Church officials expressed their concern with the district’s location, close to drug and alcohol recovery facilities. Troy Rec Executive Director Kelly Snyder also said she was worried about students walking around downtown after school since it starts at noon on Thursdays and Fridays. She said those who discard their cups without emptying them could be drunk by a child or others could hand off drinks to students from establishments.

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, Haren’s 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.

More than 50 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.