Outdoor drinking area coming to Austin Landing

DORA will be ‘a great asset,’ expected to be fully operational in the next few weeks.

Miami Twp. is the latest community to create an outdoor drinking district.

The township’s first Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, will operate daily from 4 to 11 p.m. at the 96-acre Austin Landing complex.

The special district allows patrons 21 and older to purchase alcoholic beverages from approved restaurants and carry their beer, wine or liquor outside within the DORA boundaries, including parks and shops that choose to allow it.

“A fair number of the owner-operators of businesses within Austin Landing approached the township and asked about getting a DORA approved,” township trustee John Morris told this news outlet. “The event coordinators and management company asked about getting a DORA approved. That precipitated the conversation and, ultimately, the application.”

Miami Twp. trustees unanimously approved the measure Tuesday night.

Jewels Shrader, general manager for Chuy’s, said she lives in Springboro and has seen what the DORA has done in that city. She said it will be “a great asset” for Austin Landing.

DORAs launched in Ohio in 2015 as an economic development tool and way to garner exposure for communities and businesses alike.

“Austin Landing fits perfectly (into the DORA concept) because it’s a relatively self-contained, walkable community,” Morris said. “Everything’s enclosed within it, so it’s very easy to draw boundaries.”

The “keep-the-evening-going” concept behind such outdoor drinking districts provides businesses and their patrons greater flexibility.

“Frequently, you’ll want to stay after dinner and have an after dinner drink and talk,” Morris said. “This would allow that purveyor to sell that drink, those people could walk outside and continue their conversation in the park opening up that table for new business.”

Just like in other outdoor drinking districts, patrons will be served drinks in designated plastic cups. Signage will indicate the district’s boundaries and where DORA drinks are allowed and prohibited.

Hours of the outdoor drinking area can be modified for special events upon approval by the township administrator in consultation with township police department, according to Assistant Township Administrator Christopher Snyder.

The Miami Twp. DORA, which is already approved by the state, is expected to be fully operational within the next few weeks as cups make their way to restaurants and bars, signs are installed and businesses decide to be included in or opt out of the district.

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