DORA may be coming to a city near you. Not Dora the Explorer with her singing map and backpack. DORA the law which allows cities to have Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas. In a DORA, people can walk around with open containers of alcohol purchased from local establishments. The idea behind DORAs is to spur economic development, and cities across Ohio are now implementing DORAs. Here are some facts about DORAs you may be interested to know before visiting one.
What Is The DORA Law?
Ohio Revised Code section 4301.82 authorizes municipal corporations and townships to establish Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORAs). The executive officer or fiscal officer must submit an application to the legislative branch of the city or township. If the legislature approves, the DORA is created. The city or township then obtains a permit from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. Establishments then obtain ‘Outdoor Refreshment Area’ designations on their liquor permits. The law was passed in 2017, and many cities in central Ohio are now implementing DORAs, so expect to see them near you in 2020.
There are some limitations to the DORA law. Bigger cities (over 50,000 people), may create only two DORAs, and smaller cities and townships (35,000 to 50,000 people) are limited to one DORA. The maximum DORA size for those cities and townships is 320 contiguous acres or ½ square mile. Cities and townships under 35,000 residents may also create a DORA, but only if the area includes at least four establishments which are ‘qualified permit holders’, and the maximum size is 150 contiguous acres.
What Is Permitted and Prohibited In A DORA?
In a DORA, you are permitted to carry open containers of alcohol if the alcohol was purchased from an establishment with an ‘Outdoor Refreshment Area’ designation. The Ohio law essentially says that, while in a DORA, you are exempt from the Open Container law. To be exempt, however, you must follow the rules.