Hilliard City Council on April 24 is expected to act on a request by Mayor Don Schonhardt to create a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, which is entertainment-related public area where alcohol legally could be consumed.
Law director Tracy Bradford said beginning April 30, the Ohio Revised Code will allow cities with fewer than 35,000 residents to establish such an area. Hilliard's population is roughly 31,000.
Cities with a population greater than 35,000 were permitted to establish a DORA when the authorizing legislation became effective April 30, 2015, Bradford said.
Three business owners attended a March 30 meeting at the Hilliard Municipal Building with city officials, including parks and recreation director Steve Mazer and police Chief Bobby Fisher, to share their views on the proposed DORA.
At least four liquor-permit holders must be included in the DORA, Bradford said.
Schonhardt identified those four in Old Hilliard as Abner's Casual Dining, 4051 Main St.; Otie's Tavern and Grill, 5344 Center St.; Sports on Tap, 4030 Main St.,; and Old Bag of Nails Pub, 4065 Main St.
Patrons would have to buy alcohol at one of those locations; by law, they would not be permitted to bring their own, Bradford said.
Steve Messinger, owner of Sports on Tap, Gordon Milligan, owner of Abner's, and Mike Boden, president and a partner with Old Bag of Nails, attended the March 30 meeting.
The DORA could be used for nine events during the Celebration at the Station summer concert series from June 8 to Aug. 10.
The concerts are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each evening but the DORA would be in effect from 6 to 10 p.m., Mazer said.
The proposal calls for plastic cups of specific colors to be used to allow police to determine whether is it lawful for a person to have a container of alcohol in public within the DORA.
Containers of any other nature would be prohibited, said Kelly Clodfelder, a staff attorney for Hilliard.
The business owners suggested individual arrangements with vendors to supply specially made or sponsored plastic cups for the scheduled DORA events.
Boden suggested a policy for colored wristbands to be issued to individuals over the age of 21.
Milligan also asked if the second Saturday on each month, from May to September, could be added to the list of scheduled DORA events.
Clodfelder said dates could be added to legislation "but can't be added in midyear."
The proposal for a DORA is based on feedback the city has received for the ability to have an entertainment district in Old Hilliard, particularly at Hilliard's Station Park, which will open for its second full season this year, Mazer said.