Troy’s DORA to go before voters

TROY — The referendum petition to set the city of Troy’svDowntown Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, had more than enough signatures to be placed on the Nov. 2 General Election ballot.

According to the board of elections officials, the referendum had approximately 100 signatures more than what was needed to be placed on the ballot for the city of Troy voters’ consideration.

Residents were successful in procuring enough signatures to present the DORA to all voters. The referendum needed 882 valid signatures.

On Monday, Mayor Robin Oda said, “We are disappointed that the referendum effort has nullified the DORA for the remainder of 2021. From what we’ve seen and heard from other communities who have a DORA in place, this has been a useful economic tool for their businesses inside the DORA footprint and the city in general. City staff has talked with more than two dozen communities with a DORA in place, and none reported any issues or problems. My guess is that many city residents who signed the referendum petition have actually been inside a DORA and were not even aware of it.”

Oda said if the DORA is upheld by voters, it could be instated on Nov. 4 since the permit from the state has already been OK’d.

On March 15, Troy City Council voted 7-2 to approve the ordinance to apply for the DORA application. Council members Bill Rozell and Bill Twiss voted “no” on the DORA.

In previous reports, resident Dave Pinkerton said he and a group of approximately 18-20 people, circulated the petition and gathered more than 1,100 signatures to put the DORA out to vote for all residents to consider — not just nine city council members.

Pinkerton, a spokesman for the group, shared how their concern with 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 group also said the city using the economic impact of adding a DORA is exaggerated.

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.

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.