Lima council approves designated outdoor refreshment area

By Sam Shriver -

LIMA — You’ll soon be able to legally carry an alcoholic beverage outside in downtown Lima.

On Monday night, Lima council unanimously approved an ordinance creating a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area in the downtown central business district, the Main Street corridor and the West Market Street corridor.

The DORA would ease or make more accessible outdoor dining in front of establishments holding liquor permits and allow them to serve alcohol in a plastic cup. Each business would have a different cup that is only good for that day. The creation of the DORA would relieve these establishments of current requirements for fencing around a dining area.

In addition to the established DORA hours, the Lima DORA would allow a special permit during special events held outside the established DORA hours of operation, allowing individuals to walk around the DORA boundaries with an alcoholic beverage purchased from a liquor permit-holding establishment. This authority would be limited initially to Toast of the City, Rally in the Square, Square Fair, Chocolate Walk and Holiday Walk.

Third Ward councilor Carla Thompson was appreciative for the information they had to support the DORA.

“I just want to thank the administration for, really, I felt like during that process of researching the DORA and getting this legislation in front of us, that the administration did a really good job as far as research, documentation and presentation to us about all the aspects of it, and I’m really looking forward to this being established and being part of a revitalization of the downtown area,” Thompson said.

Lima council members also received a report from law director Tony Geiger concerning the role council has regarding the residency question of candidates.

In that document, Geiger outlined the process of how residency questions are dealt with. Geiger emphasizes that the “Ohio Constitution and the City Charter provide that the election of city officers is to be administered by the Board of Elections.”

Lima council does have the legal authority to determine whether a sitting council member maintains the qualifications for the position.

“The residency issue involving any current candidate for mayor involves a private citizen running for the position of mayor within the electoral process. Challenges that a candidate does not meet the qualifications to run for that office are election issues decided by the Board of Elections,” Geiger noted in his report to council.

The residency issue came up in March when Lima resident Bart Mills challenged the residency of Elizabeth Hardesty. The Allen County Board of Elections approved Hardesty’s residency, although the matter has since been tied up in Allen County Common Pleas Court after Alice Donohue filed a lawsuit claiming Hardesty was not a resident six months before filing to run for Lima mayor. With two weeks to go before the May 4 primary, that case has yet to be heard.

In other business, Lima council:

• Approved the designation of 147 S. Main St. as a historic structure.

• Approved a 15-year, 50% tax abatement for EATS Investments, LLC. The company plans to construct a Fricker’s Restaurant at 2550 Allentown Road.

By Sam Shriver

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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