Alcohol consumption

Salisbury is exploring creating a city center ‘social district’ for outdoor drinking – Reuters

By Natalie Anderson
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SALISBURY — City Attorney Graham Corriher told council members on Tuesday that staff and Downtown Salisbury Inc. are considering the potential establishment of a downtown “social neighborhood” for drinking.

A social neighborhood would allow consumers to purchase alcohol from state-licensed businesses and restaurants and walk around the designated neighborhood with specially marked cups. The ability of municipalities to set up such a district stems from legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law last month.

Kannapolis was among the first cities in North Carolina to take advantage of the new law. The city began allowing consumers to take alcoholic beverages out of participating businesses and restaurants over the weekend after city council approval. The Kannapolis District includes portions of West Avenue, Oak Avenue, Vance Street, Laureate Way, Cannon Baller Way, West B Street, and Main Street.

Corriher said he viewed the Kannapolis plans as a model. Discussions on how it would be implemented in Salisbury are ongoing. He plans to meet with city staff and DSI this week.

State legislation authorizing the “social district” includes certain requirements for its establishment, including a map, days and hours of drinking throughout the district, signage indicating its location, and a plan for management and administration. ‘interview. All of these items should be submitted to the state’s ABC commission, but Corriher said the commission’s approval is not required at this time, per the law. The commission may put in place additional requirements.

Additionally, special cups displaying the logo of the special district, the name of the business or restaurant that supplied the alcohol, and a statement discouraging underage drinking are required. Cups could not exceed 16 ounces of alcohol, and customers could not enter a new participating business with alcohol still in the cup. Drinks should be discarded before leaving the neighborhood.

Businesses and restaurants would need ABC permits to sell, but the city is exploring whether additional permit fees for their participation could help defray the costs of providing the special cups and enforcing them. The full tax impact is not yet known, Corriher said. Businesses that don’t typically serve alcohol could consider whether they would allow customers who have consumed alcohol to enter.

Corriher said the entire municipal service district – the area officially considered the town center – could be designated, but the council can also create more than one. Councilor David Post asked about Bell Tower Green Park and the number of staff and police force needed. He also asked about the city’s liability if someone is injured.

Mayor Karen Alexander suggested starting small and determining success and safety before expanding or repealing it.

Council member Tamara Sheffield said the district could “create synergy” if that’s what businesses ultimately want. She dismissed any concerns that such a neighborhood would “become a Las Vegas.”

Council member Brian Miller said it was important to consider the opinions of downtown residents as they will be affected. He prefers the city model to be event-based and not all-time, and suggested limiting it to areas like Fisher Street, the 100 blocks from Main Street in either direction, the 100-block of Innes Street and the Railwalk, as these all include businesses. who already serve alcohol.

Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins asked about the pros and cons of setting up such a neighborhood beyond businesses and customers who can socially distance better. Corriher said he has only considered the legal parameters at this time. Heggins also asked about the composition of the DSI working group studying the issue, but Corriher did not have additional details about its composition during the meeting.

Corriher said his intention was to get feedback from council. Next steps include more discussions with a DSI working group to flesh out additional details and get more input before returning to the board with an order.

Senator Carl Ford, a Republican, was the only lawmaker representing Rowan County to vote against the legislation, House Bill 890.

Also at the city council on Tuesday:

• Members of Council approved a request by Bill Haymore of Goodwill Industries of Northwestern North Carolina to rezone a parcel at 475 Faith Road into a mixed-use corridor with a conditional district overlay to exceed setback requirements for a future Goodwill store. The 11,500 square foot Goodwill retail store would be located near the Innes Street Market mall and the Aldi grocery store. Council approval will allow developers to exceed the maximum setback of 75 feet in order to meet other store frontage and drive-through requirements. On August 19, the city’s Technical Review Committee recommended approval of the application for approval of a 100-foot setback from the Faith Road right-of-way and a 110-foot front setback from at the right-of-way of Dunham Avenue.

• Council members rescheduled the next council meeting for November 3 at 3:00 pm instead of November 2, which is election day in Rowan County.

• Council members formally revised the city’s remote meeting policy based on the passage of House Bill 812 by state lawmakers in June. In 2020, lawmakers passed a law allowing members of the public to submit comments to city leaders up to 24 hours after a public hearing, with action taken at the next meeting. Now, the city’s new policy states that members of council will allow written comments to be submitted at any time between the notice of public hearing and 24 hours before the scheduled time for the start of the public hearing.

• Council members authorized a stormwater grant in the amount of $22,450 to be used for improvements at 1801 Bellevue Road. The grant would help alleviate flooding and ponding problems that have damaged the foundation of Salisbury Academy, located at 2210 Jake Alexander Blvd. North.

• Members of Council have scheduled a public hearing for November 3 regarding a petition to permanently close the 100 block of West 16th Street, which contains a 60-foot unimproved right-of-way.

• Members of Council approved several right-of-way permit applications, including two parking stalls adjacent to 115 East Innes St., four parking stalls adjacent to the Amtrak station at 215 Depot St. and the block 100 from West Council St.

• Council members amended Chapter 13, Article X of the City’s Code of Ordinances regarding parking restrictions. The amendment removes the two-hour limit in the parking area on the north side of East Council Street near Depot Street.

• Members of Council authorized the sale of parcel 005-14001, located in the 300 block of Grim Street, to TruLand Development, LLC for $1,000. The city council authorized an upset bidding process at the September 7 meeting and received no additional bids.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.