Albemarle County seeking to explore DORA 

Albemarle County is considering taking advantage of new state laws that allow the use of Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas to help boost tourism and economic development. 

“It’s a geographic area licensed by the ABC annually that allows the consumption of alcoholic beverages—wine, beer, mixed beverages—within public spaces or inside a business without an ABC license as long as the business owner agrees,” said Roger Johnson, the county’s Economic Development Director.

The Town of Scottsville has used its DORA license on two occasions so far. The city of Charlottesville has discussed the idea but has not pursued it since a majority of the last Council did not appear to support it. 

Under the DORA, a nonprofit group would hold the ABC license. A business improvement district could also hold the license, but there are none in Albemarle County. 

“What’s allowed is up to 16 events per year,” Johnson said at the March 15, 2022 meeting of the Albemarle County Economic Development Authority. “Each event can be no longer than three days. You need a letter of support from the locality, and in this case that’s Albemarle County. You have to submit an ABC application and there is a fee associated with that.”

Beverages must be in designated containers. Johnson said he’s met with the Police Department to get their feedback on the events. 

EDA Director Stuart Munson praised the DORA set up for Scottsville for two events so far. 

“We saw a significant increase in traffic both on the street and in businesses and we had no problems whatsoever,” Munson said. 

Other potential uses for a DORA in Albemarle are in Crozet and at Stonefield. 

A slide from Roger Johnson’s presentation to the EDA Board of Directors, March 15, 2022

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the March 22, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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