The city of Powell has continued to move forward on its investigation into legislation that would allow residents to carry open containers of alcohol from place to place during some special events -- but leaders say they're still months away from any action.
For nearly a year, city officials have been discussing the idea of establishing a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA -- a relatively new Ohio legal mechanism that establishes boundaries in which people may carry open containers of alcohol during specified times or events.
During a DORA time or event, specified holders of liquor licenses may fill specially marked cups that may be taken out of the establishments and among the locations.
In February, the city's development committee examined a staff report on the topic and instructed staff members to gather more information.
The initial plan for the DORA set a 77-acre section covering the entirety of "the downtown area," stretching approximately from Murphy Parkway eastward to Grace Drive.
In the report, 14 potential establishments that would be allowed to serve alcohol in the special cups are listed: Annie's Wine Cottage, Board and Brush Creative Studios, Country Carryout, the Daily Growler, Huli Huli, Koble Grill, Kraft House No. 5, Liberty Tavern & Patios, Local Roots & Patio, Nocterra Brewing, the Powell Village Winery, Prohibition Gastro Lounge & Patio, Saffron Indian Grill and Savoir Cooking & Wine.
The city is working to gather the opinions of the owners of those businesses, and leaders say they won't rush any DORA legislation.
City spokeswoman Megan Canavan said the city's development committee is studying "how (the DORA) might be implemented in Powell, and recently met with some of the business owners to "gather feedback and discuss the idea."
Councilman and development committee member Daniel Swartwout was part of those meetings, which he said included about six business representatives.
While Swartwout agreed that most involved want things to move slowly, he said the meeting went "very well."
"It was a very productive dialogue and a lot of good discussion about what we were talking about," he said. "There was a lot of positive feedback and a lot of thoughts about how this could be implemented.
"I think everyone is excited to have events that attract more people to our downtown, so there was definitely thoughts of, 'This is something that could spur more people visiting our downtown.' "
The trepidation of some business owners, Swartwout said, came largely from logistical concerns and "the best way" to implement a new plan.
"Any of the thoughts, as far as what's going on with the DORA, were mostly just implementation thoughts," he said. " 'How is this going to work? How are the wristbands going to be done? How are the cups going to be done?' It was mostly more of those kinds of implementation and process issues that were talked about quite a bit."
From the committee to those business owners, Swartwout said there seems to be genuine agreement that the slower path is just fine for Powell.
"When you do something like this, you want to make sure you do it right," he said. "I think everyone involved is more concerned with doing it right than doing it quickly. So if it takes a little longer to make sure we've got the best process for Powell, I think everyone is OK with that."
Canavan said the next step will be to investigate how other cities -- including Delaware, Hilliard, Marysville and Worthington -- have fared with their own DORAs.
"We plan to meet with other nearby communities in the next couple months to see how their DORA was implemented and study the financial impact it would have for Powell," she said.