In an attempt to enhance the experience of patrons visiting downtown business establishments during special events, Delaware City Council on Monday approved the creation of a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA).

The resolution, which contains an application prepared for council by the City Manager R. Thomas Homan’s office as required by Ohio law, was adopted by a 6-1 vote (council member George Hellinger voted no).

Prior to approval, Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker highlighted several key points to the newly established DORA, including the boundaries of the district, which are Sandusky Street from Central Avenue to just north of Spring Street, and William and Winter streets from Franklin Street to Union Street.

She added the district will only be in effect for special events in which the host entity must submit an application for consideration by the city’s Special Events Committee, and only wine and beer can be served to patrons planning to leave an establishment with alcohol in hand.

At a previous council meeting, Homan made it known the DORA won’t be a daily, weekly, or monthly thing. He said the only host entity to show strong interest in utilizing the DORA is Greenswell, the group behind the New Moon Half & Quarter Marathon.

As for the costs associated with having a DORA in Delaware, Walker said, the host entities are responsible for a majority of the expenses like the costs of the specially marked cups, any additional police or security officers required by the city, and for refuse collection.

Additional details, concerns

City Attorney Darren Shulman said when the DORA is in effect, patrons within the district boundaries won’t be allowed to take a specially marked cup from one alcohol establishment (currently 21 liquor permit holders within the district are eligible to participate) into another, and “individual businesses in the district who don’t serve alcohol will have the choice of permitting alcohol into their establishment or not.”

If a business were to post a sign prohibiting alcohol from being brought in, the cost of such a sign wouldn’t be paid for by the city, Shulman added.

As for the specially marked cups that must be used by participating alcohol-serving establishments, the DORA application states the chief of police will dictate what the cups will look like.

In an executive summary presented to council, Walker said, staff suggested the cups be the standard plastic red cups not to exceed 16 ounces, and each cup be printed with the name of the liquor-permitted establishment that served the alcohol on at least one side.

Hellinger suggested the city reconsider the cup requirements in order to make certain people don’t bring their own alcoholic beverages into the DORA.

“There is nothing more generic than a red Solo cup,” he said. “I think it needs to be very unique.”

Hellinger also said only requiring a printed logo on one side of the cup could also present a problem as people could cover it up with their hand and leave the blank side showing.

After debating the issue, council agreed to give Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski the final say on the matter since his department will be policing the district during special events.

“Whatever the chief is comfortable with, I’m comfortable with,” Vice Mayor Kent Shafer said.

In other business:

• Fire Station 304 was approved for construction on 4.102 acres of land located at the northwest corner of the Cheshire Road/Glenn Parkway roundabout.

Fire Chief John Donahue said earlier this month the hope is to break ground on the station as soon as possible with construction expected to take a year to complete.

City Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said the city is using Fire Station 303 (located on the west side) as a template for the new station with “some additional touches” being added.

He said the city has elected to keep the majority of the trees on the property to help serve as buffers for the neighbors to the north and west. In addition, the site will have two access points — one on Cheshire Road (public use) and one on Glenn Parkway (emergency vehicles only) — and sidewalks will be installed around the property.

• Council passed an ordinance amending the employment agreement with the city manager.

Under the agreement, which is retroactive to Feb. 2, 2017, Homan’s salary is increasing from an hourly rate of $66.22 to $68.20 (3 percent raise).

Homan has served in his current role since 1999.

By Joshua Keeran

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Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.