People might soon stroll through Richmond’s Depot District sipping alcoholic drinks if council approves two ordinances presented Sept. 5.

Mayor Dave Snow presented the ordinances that would enable the city to take advantage of a new state law permitting Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas. The DORAs are exempt from certain open container laws, allowing alcoholic beverages sold by designated businesses or vendors in specially marked containers to be consumed outside or in other buildings within the DORA boundaries.

Council referred both ordinances to its safety committee for further review without hearing public comment. When the ordinances return for second reading, the public will have an opportunity to address the issue with council. 

The first ordinance enables the city to establish DORAs, and the second would create the city’s first DORA in the Depot District. State law permits a municipality to have seven DORAs.

The Depot DORA would operate from 4 to 11 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, according to the ordinance. The boundaries are North 10th Street on the east, behind the buildings north of North E Street on the north, Fort Wayne Avenue and Neff Street on the west and North D Street on the south. A dozen signs are proposed to inform patrons of the DORA boundaries.

Seven businesses would be designated permittees allowed to sell the alcoholic drinks and there would be six spots for temporary vendors to also sell alcoholic beverages. The seven designated permittees are: Cordial Cork, New Boswell Brewery and Tap Room, Roscoe’s Coffee Bar and Tap Room, Firehouse BBQ and Blues, Little Sheba’s, E Street Pub and D&R’s Hideaway Bar.

Each person 21 or older may have two drinks at a time within the DORA boundaries. The law regulates the drinks to 16 ounces of beer or flavored malt beverage; 12 ounces of wine, cider or hard seltzer; and 10 ounces, but no more than two ounces of liquor, for mixed drinks.

No drinks purchased elsewhere may be taken into the DORA area.

During its meeting, council members voted to allow the Richmond Sanitary District to pursue a $10,000 grant from the Wayne County Foundation to conduct a waste audit to determine landfill diversion opportunities. The audit costs $14,000 total.

Pat Smoker, the sanitary district’s director, said the federal Environmental Protection Agency has indicated up to 50% of waste can be diverted from landfills, extending landfill life. He also told council that he expects the EPA will begin mandating some recycling and diversion guidelines.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 13 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.