Liquor vote will affect Lane Avenue development
This November, Upper Arlington voters will be asked to make their opinions known on a community issue that will have long-lasting implications for the continued success of one of our most popular retail and dining/entertainment districts -- the Lane Avenue commercial corridor.
This ballot issue is an important step that seeks to address the existence of some "dry" parcels within the Community Entertainment District by making the entire district "wet."
Since being designated as a planned mixed-use district in 2002 as part of the Unified Development Ordinance adoption process, the city's goals for the corridor have been to encourage redevelopment that would intensify land use and blend office, residential, retail and restaurant uses to expand amenities, support a vibrant business environment and maximize revenue generating potential for the city and the schools.
A community entertainment district was created in the summer of 2011 to allow for a number of district-specific liquor licenses to further support this effort.
As reinvestment has continued, the city found there are several sites that are currently "dry," including the Lane Avenue mixed-use project. A vote of the entire city is necessary to make these parcels "wet," thereby permitting the issuance of liquor permits for prospective restaurants or retailers wishing to sell alcohol on the premises.
Recognizing that multiple sites were involved, it made sense for the city to take this issue on, to address all "dry" parcels within the district at a time (a presidential election) when the largest number of voters will likely weigh in on the issue.
On Aug. 6, Upper Arlington City Council passed a resolution placing this liquor issue on the November ballot. This decision was reaffirmed at a Sept. 4 special city council meeting, following the issuance of an Attorney General's opinion that was in conflict with several previous legal opinions relative to the potential impacts of a "no" vote on existing license-holders within the district.
After full consideration of the issues at hand, we strongly believe Upper Arlington voters will support the ballot issue, and this approach is the quickest and cleanest way to address the existence of "dry" parcels within the community entertainment district and provide certainty and vitality for the entire area.
The city has already begun implementing its community awareness efforts through an informational campaign. We also will be working with our fellow council members to help spread the word, knowing that the Nov. 6 ballot will be filled with important national and local issues and a lot of campaign information will no doubt be finding its way to your door.
We encourage you to watch for details on the community entertainment district ballot issue in the countdown to the election, and to participate in your community's future by voting on this important community issue.
Frank Ciotola and Don Leach are president and vice president, respectively, of Upper Arlington City Council.