Last month, Cheviot City Council adjourned for summer recess on July 21, not expecting to reconvene until August 18. In light of new information, however, presented earlier than expected to the Mayor's office, President Pro Temp, Kitty Zech, called last night's meeting to order for the purpose of discussing the possibility of a DORA program in the City of Cheviot.
So, first things first, what exactly is a DORA?
D.O.R.A. stands for Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, which allows for communities to create a "D.O.R.A Area". Within this section of the community, participants would be allowed to drink adult beverages throughout the designated area provided that the beverage and the cup were purchased at a participating establishment within the community.
In what looked like an issue Council may have been avoiding, what actually took place was a combined effort from Councilwoman Zech's committee and the Mayor's office, to ensure that the best possible case for the program was presented, while also providing Council with all the information needed in order to make an informed decision. Their combined efforts did not disappoint.
This was the first time since April 7 that every member in attendance was physically present. Attending remotely by Zoom was not available and the ineffectiveness was overwhelming. Although convenient, it is nearly impossible to approach a meeting with the same level of energy when attending from the comfort of one's own home, as opposed to being physically present. Council may have settled into their chairs 6 feet apart last night, but it was undoubtedly clear, the home team was back in their stadium, and they meant business.
Councilwoman Zech opened the meeting by explaining that the executive officer of Cheviot must be the one to submit the D.O.R.A application, not City Council. Outside of council chambers, Zech and the Mayor's team kept in close communication with each other, along with gathering information from other municipalities that provide a DORA program.
In an effort to get it right on this issue, Mayor Keller explained, "I was the one that put the brakes on this meeting." Keller and his team needed the allotted time to receive key information, and also to hear from the city's police department on the issue.
The Mayor stated that between Zech, Braun, Statkus, and himself, there wasn't a single community they talked with that wasn't absolutely in love with their DORA program. Outside police departments also relayed that they had not experienced any increase in crime due to the program.
So What Happens Now?
The city will submit an application for a D.O.R.A program. This application will be approved or denied after no later than 60 days.
Notice of the application will need to publish in one newspaper for (2) consecutive weeks.
A public hearing discussing the program will need to be scheduled and held.
Council will vote on the D.O.R.A proposal when it is presented, and if the proposal is passed, Council will also need to pass an additional city ordinance.
What's The Cost?
Mayor Keller was very clear that one condition of the program is that it must be at least cost-neutral for the City.
Additional Waste Containers (roughly ten additional containers need to be purchased: $150 per can)
DORA Signage (36) signs, $35 per sign.
DORA cups cost between .36-.38cents when 5,000 cups are purchased.
$65 setup fee.
The proposal that will be presented to Council has not been finalized but with the information provided, the proposal Council will vote on could include some of these bullet points.
1. DORA Hours would be in effect between 4 PM - 12 AM
2. The DORA area would stretch from Maury's Tiny Cove to Public House. This would also include both municipal parking lots and the parking lot across from Glenmore Avenue.
3. The City would purchase the cups, the cups would then be sold to the participating establishments for $1. The businesses would then sell the cups to their customers for $1.
4. The cup itself will have the 'We ❤️ Cheviot' graphic displayed on one side.
5. The City will purchase the cups, signs, and DORA Friendly Business Stickers. These items will then be sold to the participating establishments.
The next City Council Meeting is scheduled for August 18, at 7:30 PM.
The next Laws, Rules, and Ordinances Committee Meeting is scheduled for August 25, at 7:30 PM.