After more than a year of exploration, Powell's development committee is ready to present a DORA plan to Powell City Council.
At the Sept. 2 council meeting, City Manager Steve Lutz presented council members with an application and proposed legislation to establish a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, in the city.
Per state law, the city must advertise the proposed legislation for two weeks before council may take up the matter. The plan will receive a first reading at the Oct. 1 council meeting and a second reading Oct. 15, Lutz told council members.
For more than a year, city officials have been discussing the idea of a DORA. 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 along public streets in the designated area.
Ohio lawmakers voted to allow municipalities the ability to create a DORA in 2015, and several area municipalities, including Worthington and Delaware, have done so.
"The deliberate approach has been very rewarding by enabling all parties to provide feedback on goals, needs, share concerns, implementation steps and gather input from others communities who have enacted their own Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas," council and development committee member Frank Bertone said.
City spokeswoman Megan Canavan said DORA events could be held by the city or other organizations and businesses.
"We work with many organizations, such as the chamber of commerce, that host community events throughout the year," she said.
The legislation cited examples of annual events that would fall under the DORA, including the Powell Festival, Mystery Night Out and the community bonfire.
Canavan said the DORA likely would go into effect for events in 2020.
"We do not have an event confirmed at this time that will also have the DORA in place," she said.
The DORA boundary would include the city's downtown, extending to businesses along Grace Drive to the north, just beyond Grace Drive to the east, the area between Liberty Street and the railroad tracks to the south and along Olentangy Street to Murphy Parkway to the west.
Per the proposed legislation, there are 17 qualifying holders of liquor permits within the DORA.
They are Annie's Wine Cottage, Board and Brush Creative Studios, Country Carryout, the Daily Growler, Huli Huli, Koble Grill, Kraft House No. 5, Liberty Tavern, Local Roots, Monte Carlo Italian Kitchen, Nocterra Brewing, the Powell Village Winery, Prohibition Gastro Lounge, Saffron Indian Grill and Savoir Cooking & Wine, along with two pending locations.
"We're hopeful the DORA will be used as a tool by organizations wishing to host an event downtown," Canavan said. "The goals of the DORA are to spur economic development and showcase our retail stores and restaurants.
"Businesses within the DORA can plan an event and request the DORA be in effect during their event," she said. "Additionally, other organizations, such as the city or chamber, can plan events within the DORA boundaries and request the DORA be in effect during their event."
Bertone said although the legislation soon will come before council, leaders recognize the work isn't over yet.
"To that end," he said, "I am confident that the committee and our engaged business-partner community will continue to work together to further those efforts."