Dublin City Council members are scheduled to discuss at 7 p.m. July 27 a proposal for a designated outdoor refreshment area, commonly referred to as a DORA, in downtown Dublin.

The meeting will be held in City Hall, 5200 Emerald Parkway. The meeting can also be viewed via a live stream online and public comments can be sent to ClerkOfCouncilOffice@dublin.oh.us.

Lindsay Weisenauer, Dublin public affairs officer, said the city is gathering feedback via an online survey at dublinohiousa.gov/dora/. The survey has been online since July 9. City staff will gather results by July 24 in time for the July 27 meeting, she said.

A DORA would allow patrons of restaurants and bars who are 21 years old and older to buy alcoholic beverages and then take them outside of an establishment anywhere within the DORA boundaries.

Weisenauer said city officials have been discussing the initiative for some time, largely because of inquiries from the Dublin business community.

The proposed area for the DORA is about 14.2 acres, Weisenauer said, within the downtown Dublin area, which includes the Historic District and the Bridge Park development.

Creation of a DORA requires a specific protocol.

At the July 26 meeting, council is slated to give city leaders feedback on whether to move ahead with the creation of a DORA, Weisenauer said.

If council decides to move forward, the city would complete an Ohio Division of Liquor Control application and then publish a notice for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. Between 30 and 60 days after the initial publication of the notice, City Council members could approve or disapprove the application by resolution.

If council approves the application, City Manager Dana McDaniel would then file the application with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, Weisenauer said.

If the state would approve the application, council members would then have the ability to vote to determine specific boundaries, any exemptions within those boundaries and the hours the DORA would be active, Weisenauer said.

“That can be reevaluated by council on an ongoing basis,” she said.

The state approved DORAs in 2015, and Scott Dring, executive director of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the Downtown Dublin Strategic Alliance -- which includes the visitors bureau, the city, Crawford Hoying, the Historic Dublin Business Association, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Dublin Arts Council -- first began discussing DORAs in June 2018.

Dring said he believes creation of a DORA would benefit not only all restaurants and pubs in downtown Dublin, but other businesses, including retail.

“In addition to generating revenue and jobs for the area, it will introduce residents and visitors to the area, thus raising awareness of the entire area,” he said.

Still, Dring said the safety and well-being of residents and visitors is the priority.

“When it’s safe to do so, a DORA will be a critical tool in helping to restart the Dublin economy,” Dring said.

He said the convention and visitors bureau included the creation of a DORA as an option in its hospitality industry restart plan in March.

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