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Ohio Outdoor Refreshment (Open Container) Areas

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There have been discussion of this in other threads related specifically to those places (for example, OTR or The Banks in Cincinnati) about allowing open containers in designated areas.

 

The Ohio State Senate just passed a bill that would allow cities and townships with over 35,000 people to create districts where you can drink openly in public (think New Orleans, Memphis, Indianapolis).

 

For a community to be eligible, they must have at least 35,000 people and four liquor permits. Communities with 150,001+ people can have two districts. Communities with 275,001+ can have three districts. You can read more here.

 

In previous versions the limit for three districts was 300,000 which placed Cincinnati just below the threshold. I imagine it was lowered to give Cincinnati (and Toledo) more flexibility.

 

Previous articles have pointed out that a district is limited to one half mile by one half mile (silly requirement IMO, they should set up a maximum area allowed if they want, but shouldn't define the maximum lengths). You can read the full senate bill as passed here.

 

These areas are referred to as Outdoor Refreshment Areas (or ORAs) in the code, so I suggest we refer to them as such. This is instead of "entertainment districts" which are already a legal term in the Ohio Code for locations in which more liquor licenses can be added to a geographic area beyond a city's usually allotted number. These are two separate things.

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Also, you must (basically) purchase your beverage from one of the following locations to drink openly on the street: brewery with license to sell on premises, winery, bar, club, restaurant, hotel, casino, or historic riverboat. Specifically businesses with A-1, A-1-A, A-1c, A-2, or D permits.

 

You cannot legally purchase a beer at the convenience store, or bring one from home and open it on the street in these districts. You also cannot enter an establishment with a beverage. You can only exit them and finish your drink on the street.

 

Every 5 years, the legislative body of the city must approve the continuation of the district.

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Also, you must (basically) purchase your beverage from one of the following locations to drink openly on the street: brewery with license to sell on premises, winery, bar, club, restaurant, hotel, casino, or historic riverboat. Specifically businesses with A-1, A-1-A, A-1c, A-2, or D permits.

 

You cannot legally purchase a beer at the convenience store, or bring one from home and open it on the street in these districts. You also cannot enter an establishment with a beverage. You can only exit them and finish your drink on the street.

 

Every 5 years, the legislative body of the city must approve the continuation of the district.

 

Did they mention F-8 permits? If not that would be a problem for Fountain Square, Findlay Market and Washington Park. (also Krohn Conservatory, but that's not going to happen up there)

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Here is the exact language:

 

Sec. 4301.82.  (A) As used in this section, "qualified permit holder" means the holder of an A-1, A-1-A, A-1c, A-2, or D permit issued under Chapter 4303. of the Revised Code.

 

So no F type permits are allowed to participate as the bill is currently written.

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There have been discussion of this in other threads related specifically to those places (for example, OTR or The Banks in Cincinnati) about allowing open containers in designated areas.

 

The Ohio State Senate just passed a bill that would allow cities and townships with over 35,000 people to create districts where you can drink openly in public (think New Orleans, Memphis, Indianapolis).

 

For a community to be eligible, they must have at least 35,000 people and four liquor permits. Communities with 150,001+ people can have two districts. Communities with 275,001+ can have three districts. You can read more here.

 

In previous versions the limit for three districts was 300,000 which placed Cincinnati just below the threshold. I imagine it was lowered to give Cincinnati (and Toledo) more flexibility.

 

Previous articles have pointed out that a district is limited to one half mile by one half mile (silly requirement IMO, they should set up a maximum area allowed if they want, but shouldn't define the maximum lengths). You can read the full senate bill as passed here.

 

These areas are referred to as Outdoor Refreshment Areas (or ORAs) in the code, so I suggest we refer to them as such. This is instead of "entertainment districts" which are already a legal term in the Ohio Code for locations in which more liquor licenses can be added to a geographic area beyond a city's usually allotted number. These are two separate things.

 

Awesome. Though it will be interesting to see who my be behind the scenes, steering where these areas will be located.

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^I imagine the very first one will be in Cincinnati. There are talks of getting it in place for either Opening Day (April 6th) or the All Star Game. I bet many places will look to see an example before they go forward.

 

There aren't many rules in the bill passed about what is allowed or not allowed in these districts (where you can purchase from, and how big/many districts are the main regulations), and they do leave it up to the cities to set rules. A city may be able to limit the outdoor drinking to before 1:00am, for instance. Or ban glass bottles/cups. Nothing in the bill as passed prohibits you from drinking in the ORA after bar closing, either. So if a city doesn't explicitly prohibit drinking in an ORA after a certain time, I imagine you could get a bunch of "to-go" beers and stand outside drinking until your heart's content.

 

If Cincinnati is going to have one by Opening Day at The Banks, they need to move quickly. The fastest an ORA could be adopted appears to be 30 days, but it would require much longer to receive public input from the community. So it will be cutting it close if April 6th is the deadline.

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I'm all for this in principle, but there are a lot of questions of liability and responsibility that it raises.  Who's going to be responsible for cleaning up the inevitable litter?  Who's going to be responsible for ensuring underage drinkers aren't getting drinks handed to them off premises?  What's the bar-owners responsibility if someone overconsumes or gets a DUI?  How are patrons going to be notified of the rules pertaining to open container, especially where they are and aren't allowed to take their drinks?

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Also, you must (basically) purchase your beverage from one of the following locations to drink openly on the street: brewery with license to sell on premises, winery, bar, club, restaurant, hotel, casino, or historic riverboat. Specifically businesses with A-1, A-1-A, A-1c, A-2, or D permits.

 

You cannot legally purchase a beer at the convenience store, or bring one from home and open it on the street in these districts. You also cannot enter an establishment with a beverage. You can only exit them and finish your drink on the street.

 

Every 5 years, the legislative body of the city must approve the continuation of the district.

 

Did they mention F-8 permits? If not that would be a problem for Fountain Square, Findlay Market and Washington Park. (also Krohn Conservatory, but that's not going to happen up there)

 

UC might look at this for football games over on Calhoun.

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I'm all for this in principle, but there are a lot of questions of liability and responsibility that it raises.  Who's going to be responsible for cleaning up the inevitable litter?  Who's going to be responsible for ensuring underage drinkers aren't getting drinks handed to them off premises?  What's the bar-owners responsibility if someone overconsumes or gets a DUI?  How are patrons going to be notified of the rules pertaining to open container, especially where they are and aren't allowed to take their drinks?

 

Valid questions, but all we need to do is look at Vegas, Memphis, New Orleans, all of Europe, etc. to see how they handle it.

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UC might look at this for football games over on Calhoun.

 

I think they are better suited for just getting temporary permits on game days instead of allowing it all year round. Though I think Short Vine would be a decent area to do something like this. The street is not a major thoroughfare.

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I'm all for this in principle, but there are a lot of questions of liability and responsibility that it raises.  Who's going to be responsible for cleaning up the inevitable litter?  Who's going to be responsible for ensuring underage drinkers aren't getting drinks handed to them off premises?  What's the bar-owners responsibility if someone overconsumes or gets a DUI?  How are patrons going to be notified of the rules pertaining to open container, especially where they are and aren't allowed to take their drinks?

 

Valid questions, but all we need to do is look at Vegas, Memphis, New Orleans, all of Europe, etc. to see how they handle it.

 

Most of Europe handles it by just not restricting consumption anywhere. Not making districts. Not allowing just drinks served by bars. And letting people drink at 16.

 

Then they use their fat VAT and income taxes to pick up any litter and clean the streets.

 

My point is, we could try that, but since that's not what we're trying Europe isn't going to be a useful place to look for a model.

 

I don't think Vegas or New Orleans have open container laws anywhere. Not sure about that, though. But I remember the to-go drinks were all served in plastic containers in the French Quarter.

 

Memphis created a privately owned district on Beale Street which allows security to go beyond what would be constitutional on public grounds. That place is on lockdown and not very pleasant.

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Looks like the Open Container legislation won't be voted on until the next legislative session: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/10/tax-free-shopping-mlb-star-money-open-containers/20219387/

 

But the House isn't going to rush to approve the [open container] measure before the legislative session ends on New Year's Eve, said Cincinnati-area Representatives Denise Driehaus and Louis "Bill" Blessing, who sponsored a simBAilar bill in that chamber. The Senate may add the legislation to another bill Thursday, but the House appears unlikely to agree to that approach either.

 

Still, incoming Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, supports the open-containers bill, so supporters are holding out hope they can pass it next year, at least in time for the All-Star Game.

 

"I'm optimistic about the next General Assembly. In lame duck, we ran out of time. It wasn't going to happen," said Driehaus, D-Clifton Heights. "But there's support statewide for that, so I expect that would go pretty quickly in the next General Assembly."

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I don't think Vegas or New Orleans have open container laws anywhere. Not sure about that, though. But I remember the to-go drinks were all served in plastic containers in the French Quarter.

 

What else would they serve them in, if you are leaving their premises?

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I don't think Vegas or New Orleans have open container laws anywhere. Not sure about that, though. But I remember the to-go drinks were all served in plastic containers in the French Quarter.

 

What else would they serve them in, if you are leaving their premises?

 

I was just saying how it works. I don't know...sometimes I've gotten a special event glass or something from a bar to take home (say perhaps an All-Star Game commemorative glass from the Holy Grail). A municipality might want to make a law where, even if you can buy drinks in the glass on-premises and are taking the glass home, you can't leave the place with a drink in glass.

 

Also a lot of bars have outdoor patios on the sidewalk outside. The law might make it illegal to take a glass past the patio (which is currently only the case because of open container laws). Bars would probably like that as it would help prevent their glassware from walking away.

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I don't think Vegas or New Orleans have open container laws anywhere. Not sure about that, though. But I remember the to-go drinks were all served in plastic containers in the French Quarter.

 

What else would they serve them in, if you are leaving their premises?

 

I was just saying how it works. I don't know...sometimes I've gotten a special event glass or something from a bar to take home (say perhaps an All-Star Game commemorative glass from the Holy Grail). A municipality might want to make a law where, even if you can buy drinks in the glass on-premises and are taking the glass home, you can't leave the place with a drink in glass.

 

Also a lot of bars have outdoor patios on the sidewalk outside. The law might make it illegal to take a glass past the patio (which is currently only the case because of open container laws). Bars would probably like that as it would help prevent their glassware from walking away.

 

Glassware walking away would be the big issue for a bar, pretty much a show stopper unless, as you say, it's a special glass the patron buys.

 

There's also the issue of broken glass on the sidewalks.

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I can almost guarantee the ORA at The Banks will require a clear plastic cup to take from the bar. In Savannah, New Orleans, etc you always need a plastic cup. They don't let you leave with glass and you risk large fines for taking a glass cup onto the street in an open container zone. Cincinnati/Ohio will be no different.

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I can almost guarantee the ORA at The Banks will require a clear plastic cup to take from the bar. In Savannah, New Orleans, etc you always need a plastic cup. They don't let you leave with glass and you risk large fines for taking a glass cup onto the street in an open container zone. Cincinnati/Ohio will be no different.

 

Making it a law saves argument at the bar level.  Between that and the safety issue the bars will be as insistent on this as anyone.

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'Opening Day is a no go' for open-container district

 

Revelers will have to wait until after Opening Day for a proposed open-container district to take effect in Cincinnati.

 

The Ohio Legislature is considering a bill to allow cities to create open-container zones much like those in New Orleans or Memphis, Tennessee. Supporters hope to create such a district in The Banks in time for the Reds' Opening Day game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 6.

 

But a phrase tucked into the bill would require city councils to wait at least 30 days after each open-container zone is proposed before voting on whether to approve it.

 

"Opening Day is a no go," said Rep. Louis "Bill" Blessing, R-Colerain Township, one of the sponsors of the bill. "We're still on track for the (Major League Baseball) All-Star Game," in July.

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Makes me wonder about Dayton.

 

The city is under 150,000 in population, I believe... somewhere around 145k. Can it get three entertainment districts?

 

The OD, downtown around Jefferson & Webster Station, and UD seem like logical locations to me.

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^Good point. So will Dayton have two districts? Given the fact taht the next smallest city, Youngstown, is sub 100k people, it hardly seems fair to shut Dayton off from having a second entertainment district with this arbitrary cutoff.

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The Senate Committee is voting on the proposal today. The bill has been amended to change who is eligible to receive ORAs.

 

Any municipality or township with over 50,000 people can create 2 ORA's. No community can create 3 any more.

 

Any municipality or township with over 35,000 people can create 1 ORA.

 

A municipality or township with a certain number of liquor licenses in a specific area can create 1 ORA as well.

 

Here is the most up to date version of the bill.

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Well that's unfortunate. Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland would all benefit from having three. Now each will have to leave some major area out of the fun..

 

Speaking from Cincinnati, I really just hope OTR is one of the recipients if this goes through. Downtown would be great as well but I feel The Banks and OTR are the two area that would benefit the most from open container districts.

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I really like the idea of this in general, but my concern is that a large city is only able to create two ORA's. So basically the city will be choosing to give preference to certain areas and establishments over others. Does the city pick Flats East Bank, The Warehouse District, Gateway, West 25th Street, etc, etc? Do bars in the areas that you don't select suffer significantly because of this? Also, I haven't read the legislation yet, so perhaps this is in there, but how is the half square mile area defined? Can cities "gerrymander" the area to include as many entertainment districts as possible (i.e. lumping the FEB and WHD together as one?)

 

This is a fun mapping tool I've been playing around with to see what the square mileage of certain areas would be: http://www.mapdevelopers.com/area_finder.php

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Thanks for posting that tool. It looks like the vast majority of Downtown/OTR in Cincy could fit into one zone. I wonder how the zones will be created.

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Thanks for posting that tool. It looks like the vast majority of Downtown/OTR in Cincy could fit into one zone. I wonder how the zones will be created.

 

I sometimes forget how small (geographically) and dense Cincy's downtown is

 

Edit: At second glance, most of downtown Cleveland (including FEB, WHD, and Gateway) could all fit into a half square mile as well

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I guess I never bothered to really think about it and it really isn't very big. It's long and narrow (in terms of the direction of density) which helps I think. But OTR, Pendleton, Downtown, and The Banks altogether really isn't very much square mileage. Less than I realized.

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1/2 mile square is much larger than I realized. You could fit all of the following into 1/2 mile square:

 

a. The Banks

b. Smale Park

c. Main Street to Vine Street (measuring from the end of one right of way to the other) From 2nd to Liberty

d. Washington Park

e. Elm to Race from 12th to Henry

 

and still have a little left over

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My guesses:

Columbus: Arena District, Short North. I can't really think of any other contenders.

Cleveland: East 4th/Gateway, FEB (I'd be curious if they would group the Warehouse district with FEB or the west bank in this section)

Cincinnati: The banks, OTR

**I am not familiar enough with Dayton, Akron, Toledo, Youngstown, Mansfield, Lima, Canton, Parma to make any guesses**

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My guesses:

Columbus: Arena District, Short North. I can't really think of any other contenders.

Cleveland: East 4th/Gateway, FEB

Cincinnati: The banks, OTR

**I am not familiar enough with Dayton, Akron, Toledo, Youngstown, Mansfield, Lima, Canton, Parma to make any guesses**

 

Strongsville and Mentor have some really strong options....

 

(sarcasm)

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In Dayton, all of downtown east of Ludlow, Webster Station, the OD, etc. could fit in one district. Likely the other district will be positioned to cover Brown St., the new Midtown development and UD Arena.

 

What will be really interesting to watch is the townships and suburbs with 35k+ people or 50k+ people.

 

Like West Chester is saying they will put their district at the VOA shopping center:

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/local/ohio-senate-to-vote-to-allow-open-alcohol-in-enter/njKLg/

 

 

But yeah, it's making me wonder in some places whether or not this will push them towards mergers or allow some creative collaborations between communities. I'm willing to bet Beavercreek, (population 45,000) desperately wants both the Fairfield Commons mall area and The Greene covered with open container districts. So will they try and merge with Beavercreek Twp., will they beg Fairborn or Kettering to put their districts near their two malls (can communities overlap their districts into other communities?), or do they choose a winner and a loser?

 

 

 

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Here's one example of how you could fit most of downtown Cleveland (including FEB, WHD, Gateway, and PlayHouse Square) into a half square mile area:

 

Untitled1.jpg

 

 

Also, some intense gerrymandering to include W 25th St, "Hingetown," Gordon Square, and Tremont:

 

Untitled.jpg

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I don't know if it's still in there but I thought there was something about no single dimension being more than a certain distance. Meaning gerrymandering isn't allowed. Which is unfortunate and I fail to see why it matters.

 

Well, I also fail to see why there is a law against open containers in general when the statistics don't support the rhetoric against them. I don't understand why 2 instead of 3 for big cities. I don't understand the half square mile limit. I don't understand why any of this unnecessary regulation exists.

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TPH2[/member] I didn't realize it would cover that much area. I would imagine they wouldn't need to include Progressive Field within the borders, just up to the northern gates of the stadium. Also, East 9th up to Lakeside doesn't really have much that would benefit imo. With those areas excluded then hopefully the West Bank of the Flats could be included.

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Based on my skimming of the language, it appears they decreased the number of ORA's, but increased the size of them.

 

IIRC, the previous language of the bill stated that no side could be larger than 1/2 mile. Which would mean the largest an ORA could be was 1/4 square mile.

 

It appears they lowered the number allowed to 2, but increased the size to 1/2 square mile instead of 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile. So it looks like gerrymandering districts is now allowed, Which is good, because some entertainment districts are very linear (like Short North).

 

One thing to think about, is that a heavily gerrymandered district would be a lot harder to control/patrol if the city is interested in doing a lot of police presence (especially early on in the implementation).

 

I predict Cincinnati will start with The Banks and Smale Riverfront Park in a district, and then propose expansion at a later time. The Banks is not going to be nearly as controversial as OTR.

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^ I agree with that assessment. There hasn't been much discussion about how cities will receive this law if it indeed gets passed in Columbus. What would be the primary potential objections city leaders may have? I can already hear in my head members of Cle City Council fear mongering about the collapse of public order as well Zack Reed and Jeff Johnson complaining about none of the proposed districts being located in Wards 2 or 10.

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I dont understand how these will be good.  It seems as though this is what suburbanites think of Cities are for. A place to visit and get drunk in, throw up and piss on the side of someones condo, and then take a cab back to suburbia.

 

Over-the-Rhine is on record opposing an open container district in its boundaries. I think you will end up with one at the Banks, and supposedly Short Vine near UC, which I also don't see a benefit to.

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^If it were up to me, I would allow open containers to be consumed in public whenever bars are legally allowed to sell anywhere you want to consume them. With notable exceptions like some parks, near playgrounds, on school grounds, etc. Keep it illegal until a municipality or township votes to allow it. They could choose to limit it to certain areas as they see fit.

 

Open container bill passed the State Senate unanimously

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