Canal Winchester officials hope to expand the dining and entertainment options of the city’s historic district by creating a community entertainment district in the Waterloo and High Streets area.
Canal Winchester City Council heard the first of three readings of an ordinance on June 23rd that would “give the city another tool for economic development and business recovery” by increasing the number of liquor permits available.
In a letter to Mayor Mike Ebert outlining the plan, urban development director Lucas Haire said the lack of available liquor licenses was “an obstacle to economic development opportunities.”
“As Canal Winchester has met its assigned quota of available liquor licenses based on population, the creation of an additional community entertainment district will allow new restaurants and entertainment venues to be created in the district where they were reluctant to invest without this vital source of income,” wrote Hair .
The ordinance limits the district to no less than 20 contiguous hectares.
In 2016, Canal Winchester launched two urban entertainment districts to encourage the development of restaurants, shops and leisure facilities along the busy corridors of Diley Road and Gender Road. The entertainment district of Diley Road covers approximately 105 acres.
“This (community’s new entertainment district) is a huge stepping stone,” said council vice president Mike Coolman. “It is a step that is necessary.”
Ohio law generally limits the number of liquor licenses available based on population.
However, Ohio lawmakers approved the formation of community entertainment districts in 1999 to aid in the revitalization of areas.
The first step is to have the city council designate an area as a community entertainment district.
The city council – or the legislature – has 75 days to approve or deny the application based on criteria including whether the district is “material to entertainment, retail, educational, sports, social, cultural – or will contribute art opportunities for the community ”. according to the Ohio Revised Code.
Once that’s done, companies within the district can apply for D5J licenses with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. The D5J license is for community entertainment districts and is not subject to quota restrictions like other liquor licenses under the state code.
Once the entertainment district ordinance is approved, additional alcohol permits could be granted as early as September, Haire said.
The state code allows one D5J license per five hectares, which means the new entertainment district could offer six additional liquor licenses. The Council can also amend the regulation at any time.
Salaries don’t change
for mayor and council
The salaries of the mayor and city council members will remain unchanged for the next two years in accordance with the provisions of the law approved on June 21.
Ebert is set to receive $ 100,842 this year after the council approved a 2.5% salary increase for both 2020 and 2021 in June 2019.
The mayor’s benefit package also includes $ 500 per month in compensation for using his personal vehicle while conducting city business.
Every two years by July 1, the council has to vote on laws and fix salaries and benefits for the mayor and the seven elected councilors. Changes then come into effect in the following year after a council election.
Council members receive US $ 6,592 annually, with the Council President receiving US $ 7,251 and the Vice President receiving US $ 6,921. Most recently, they received a 3% pay increase in 2016.