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Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORA)

What is a DORA?

Per R.C. 4301.82, a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area or “DORA” (aka Outdoor Refreshment Area or “ORA”) is nothing more than a specified area of land that a local legislative authority has designated as exempt from certain open container provisions as defined within the legislative act that created the DORA. Thus, patrons within a DORA that purchase an alcoholic beverage for on-premises consumption from a DORA designated liquor permit holder can leave the permit premises with an opened alcoholic beverage container and continue consuming it within the DORA.  To find out what types of permits qualify to be in a DORA, see the "How Many DORAs can a Legislative Authority Create" tab below. 

While the law places certain restrictions on DORAs, generally speaking the decision of whether to create a DORA, including its size, how many should be created, its hours of operation, what cups are used, or any health, safety, and sanitation plans when the DORA is in effect are all locally controlled decisions.  

Our involvement in the DORA process is limited. We review the local legislative authority’s resolution or ordinance that created the DORA to ensure that it meets basic legal requirements like having the minimum number of existing qualifying permits within the DORA at the time of creation. As long as the DORA documents meet the minimal legal requirements, we record the DORA’s boundaries in its permitting system and affix a DORA designation (ORA) on the permit of any current or future qualifying permit holders within the DORA.  

Questions regarding Ohio’s Open Container Law (R.C. 4301.62) and its enforcement should be directed to the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s, Investigative Unit or your local law enforcement agency. Legal questions involving the creation of a DORA or how a DORA within your community operates should be directed to your local law department.

Where are DORAs located?

Below are a list of the current DORAs that have been created across the state of Ohio. As more are created, we will add them here. While Ohio law sets-forth minimum legal requirement to create a DORA, please understand that each municipality or township sets-up their own DORA rules and regulations (e.g., days/times the DORA is in operation, signage, boundaries, etc.). For more information on how and when each DORA is operated, you will need to contact the respective municipality or township.

County City/Township/Village DORA Name
Allen Lima Lima DORA
Athens Athens Athens Uptown DORA
Auglaize St. Marys St. Marys DORA
Auglaize Wapakoneta Wapakoneta DORA
Belmont Bellaire Downtown Bellaire DORA
Brown Ripley Ripley DORA
Butler Fairfield Fairfield Town Center DORA
Butler Hamilton City of Hamilton DORA
Butler Liberty Township Liberty Center DORA
Butler Middletown Middletown DORA
Butler Oxford Oxford DORA
Clark Springfield Downtown Springfield DORA
Clermont Milford Downtown Milford DORA
Clermont New Richmond New Richmond DORA
Clinton Wilmington Wilmington DORA
Columbiana Columbiana City of Columbiana DORA
Columbiana Salem Salem DORA
Coshocton Coshocton Downtown Coshocton Roscoe Village DORA
Crawford Village of Crestline Crestline DORA
Crawford Bucyrus Downtown Bucyrus
Cuyahoga Lyndhurst Legacy Village DORA
Cuyahoga Shaker Heights Van Aken District DORA
Darke Greenville City of Greenville DORA
Defiance Defiance City of Defiance DORA
Delaware Delaware Downtown Delaware
Delaware Liberty Township Liberty Township DORA
Delaware Powell Powell DORA
Delaware Shawnee Hills Shawnee Hills DORA
Erie Milan Milan DORA
Erie Sandusky Downtown Sandusky DORA
Fairfield Lancaster Lancaster DORA
Fayette Washington Court House Main Street Fayette DORA
Franklin Bexley Bexley Patio DORA
Franklin Columbus Columbus Arena District DORA
Franklin Dublin Bridge Park DORA
Franklin Gahanna Gahanna DORA
Franklin Grove City Grove City Town Center DORA
Franklin Hilliard Old Hilliard DORA
Franklin New Albany New Albany Village DORA
Franklin Westerville Uptown Westerville DORA
Franklin Whitehall Whitehall DORA
Franklin Worthington Downtown Worthington DORA
Greene Fairborn Fairborn DORA
Hamilton Blue Ash Blue Ash DORA
Hamilton Cheviot Cheviot DORA
Hamilton Cincinnati At the Banks DORA
Hamilton Cincinnati College Hill DORA
Hamilton Cincinnati Hyde Park DORA
Hamilton Cincinnati Westwood DORA
Hamilton Harrison Harrison DORA
Hamilton Loveland Downtown Loveland DORA
Hamilton Madeira Downtown Madeira DORA
Hamilton Mariemont Downtown Mariemont DORA
Hamilton Montgomery Montgomery DORA
Hamilton Sharonville Sharonville DORA
Hamilton Wyoming Wyoming DORA
Hancock Findlay Findlay DORA
Henry Hamler Hamler DORA
Henry Napoleon Napoleon DORA
Highland Greenfield Downtown Greenfield DORA
Huron Bellevue Downtown Bellevue DORA
Huron Norwalk Norwalk DORA
Knox Mount Vernon Downtown Mount Vernon DORA
Lake Madison Village Madison Village DORA
Lawrence Ironton Downtown Ironton DORA
Licking Newark Newark Downtown DORA
Logan Bellefontaine Bellefontaine DORA
Lorain Lorain City of Lorain DORA
Lucas Maumee Uptown Maumee DORA
Lucas Sylvania Downtown Sylvania DORA
Lucas Toledo City of Toledo DORA
Lucas Toledo Downtown Toledo DORA
Marion Marion City of Marion DORA
Mercer Rockford Rockford DORA
Miami Piqua Downtown Piqua DORA
Miami Tipp City Downtown Tipp City DORA
Miami Troy Downtown Troy DORA
Montgomery Miami Township Austin landing Miami Township DORA
Montgomery Miamisburg Downtown Miamisburg DORA
Montgomery Oregon (Dayton) Dayton Oregon District DORA
Muskingum Zanesville Zanesville DORA
Ottawa Port Clinton Main Street Port Clinton DORA
Perry Somerset Somerset DORA
Pickaway Circleville Uptown Circleville DORA
Portage Garrettsville Downtown Garrettsville DORA
Portage Kent Kent DORA
Portage Ravenna Downtown Ravenna DORA
Ross Chillicothe Downtown Chillicothe DORA
Sandusky Fremont Fremont DORA
Scioto Portsmouth Portsmouth DORA
Seneca Fostoria Downtown Fostoria DORA
Seneca Tiffin Tiffin DORA
Shelby Sidney Sidney DORA
Stark Canal Fulton Canal Futon DORA
Stark Canton Downtown Canton DORA
Stark Louisville City of Louisville DORA
Stark Minerva Minerva DORA
Stark North Canton North Canton DORA
Stark Plain Township Plain Township DORA
Summit Akron Downtown Akron DORA
Summit Barberton Downtown Barberton DORA
Summit Hudson Hudson DORA
Union Marysville City of Marysville DORA
Van Wert Van Wert Van Wert DORA
Warren Deerfield Township Deerfield Township DORA
Warren Lebanon Downtown Lebanon DORA
Warren Mason Downtown Mason DORA
Warren Springboro City of Springboro DORA
Washington Marietta Marietta DORA
Wayne Wooster City of Wooster DORA
Williams Bryan Bryan DORA
Wood Bowling Green Bowling Green DORA
Wood Perrysburg Downtown Perrysburg DORA
Wood Perrysburg Levis Commons DORA

How many DORAs can a Legislative Authority create? 

The number of DORAs that may be established in a Municipal Corporation or Township, and a DORA's maximum size, depends on the population, as determined by the most recent regular federal decennial census, of the Municipal Corporation or Township. The chart below summarizes R.C. 4301.82(D):

Population of Municipal Corporation or Township Maximum # of DORAs Size of DORA *# of Required Qualified Permit Holders* in the DORA
More than 50,000 6 Up to 640 contiguous acres  4 or more
50,000 or less 3 Up to 320 contiguous acres 2 or more

* = Qualified Permit Holders include A-1, A-1-A, A-1c, A-2, A-2f, or D class, excluding D-6 or D-8. Also, Municipal Corporations or Townships need to include the qualifying permit holder information in the information submitted to us.

How does a Legislative Authority create a DORA?

To create a DORA, an application, which is NOT our document, must be filed with the applicable Legislative Authority of the Municipal Corporation or Township where the DORA will exist. The application must be filed by either the:

  • Executive officer of the applicable Municipal Corporation; or 
  • Township’s Fiscal Officer.  

Per R.C. 4301.82(B), the application must include:

  • A map or survey of the proposed DORA in sufficient detail to identify its boundaries, which shall not exceed:
  • Six hundred and forty contiguous acres if the Municipal Corporation or Township has a population of more than fifty thousand; OR
  • Three hundred and twenty contiguous acres if the Municipal Corporation or Township has a population of fifty thousand or less;  
  • A statement that the population requirement mentioned above is met;
  • A statement of the nature and types of establishments that are or will be within the proposed DORA;
  • Evidence that the land uses within the proposed DORA are in accord with the Municipal Corporation's or Township's master zoning plan or map; and
  • Proposed public health and safety requirements, as outlined in R.C. 4301.82(F), for the DORA.

Within 45 days after the application is filed with the Legislative Authority of a Municipal Corporation or Township, the Legislative Authority shall:

  • Publish public notice of the application in one newspaper of general circulation in the Municipal Corporation or Township or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code; 
  • Ensure the notice states the application is on file in the office of the clerk of the Municipal Corporation or Township and is available for inspection by the public during regular business hours; and
  • Indicate in the notice the date and time of any public hearing it will hold regarding the application.

Not earlier than 30 but not later than 60 days after initial publication of the notice, the Legislative Authority must:

  • Approve or disapprove the application in an ordinance or resolution by an affirmative majority vote; 
  • Give public notice, like above, prior to adopting an ordinance or resolution; and
  • Depending on the vote:
  • If not approved, the local legislative authority can choose not to create the DORA or the executive officer of the Municipal Corporation or the Township’s fiscal officer may change the application to secure local legislative approval.

If the local legislative authority approves the DORA, the ordinance or resolution that created the DORA must, as specified in R.C. 4301.82(F)(1), ensure the public health and safety is maintained within the DORA by including all the following items in the ordinance or resolution:

  • The specific boundaries, including street addresses, of the DORA;
  • The number, spacing, and type of signage that will designate the DORA;
  • The DORA’s house of operation;
  • The number of staff needed to ensure public safety within the DORA;
  • A sanitation plan that will help maintain the appearance and public health within the DORA;
  • The number of staff needed to carryout the sanitation plan; and 
  • A requirement that beer and intoxicating liquor be served in some sort of plastic bottle or other non-glass container within the DORA.  

Temporary F Class permit holders that will operate within a DORA will receive a DORA designation from the Division. F permit holders:

  • are subject to the same laws and rules as any other D Class permit holder; and
  • cannot block the ingress or egress to the DORA or any other liquor permit premises located within the DORA.

What does the Legislative Authority need to send us?

In order for the Division to affix DORA designations on the qualifying permits within a DORA, the legislative authority that created the DORA must send us:

  • A copy of the application submitted to the Legislative Authority;
  • An executed copy of the Ordinance or Resolution that created the DORA;
  • A list of the street boundaries that encompass the proposed DORA and all the streets within the actual boundaries. Since we issue permits to exact locations, this helps us process permit applications efficiently to determine if the address in the approved boundaries of the DORA. See Appendix A for the format the Legislative Authority or township trustees should use when sending its street listings to us;
  • A list of the qualifying permit holders (Name, Address, and Permit # if known) located within the DORA at the time of creation; and

For faster processing, we ask that all documents and DORA correspondence, including general questions regarding DORAs, be sent to dora@com.ohio.gov.

What do we do with the information we get from the Legislative Authority?

We:

  • Ensure the Municipal Corporation or Township has not exceeded the maximum acreage and/or the maximum number of DORA's allowed depending on the population determined by the most recent regular federal decennial census;
  • Enter the DORA street listings into its permitting system;
  • Search for qualifying permit holders that are open and operating within the DORA’s boundaries and otherwise in compliance with Ohio’s liquor laws; 
  • Issue DORA designations to the applicable permit holders; and 
  • Notify the affected permit holders that they are now located within a DORA by either: 
  • Mailing the qualifying permit holder a new permit that has an “OUTDOOR REFRESHMENT AREA” designation in the upper right-hand corner of the permit; or 
  • Issues a DORA designation letter to the qualifying permit holder that should be displayed next to the liquor permit holder’s current proof of operating privileges (i.e, a liquor permit, operating receipt, or Authority to Operate letter). 

The DORA designation allows the patrons of that liquor permit establishment from where the alcoholic beverage was purchased to carry the opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor into the DORA for further consumption.   

We do not charge permit holders a fee for issuing the DORA designation.  

It may take us up to 3 weeks to process newly submitted DORAs once received from the Legislative Authority.

How does a Legislative Authority expand or dissolve an existing DORA?

A Municipal Corporation or Township may expand an existing DORA provided the expansion would not exceed the maximum size of the DORA permitted by law (see above for details).  

Assuming the existing DORA can be expanded, the Legislative Authority must: 

  • follow the same procedures, like public notice and passing a resolution or ordinance, that were utilized to create the DORA; and 
  • email the same information to us that it would upon initial creation, including a new street boundary listing that includes all streets, not just the newly added streets.  

If the existing DORA is already at its maximum size as permitted by law, then the original DORA cannot be expanded. Rather, the Legislative Authority would need to create a new DORA in the same manner specified above if it has not reached the maximum number of DORAs that it can create in its jurisdiction. 

A Municipal Corporation or Township may dissolve all or part of an existing DORA. To do so, it must: 

  • follow the same procedures, like providing public notice and passing a resolution or ordinance, that were utilized to create the DORA; and
  • email the same information to us that it would upon initial creation, including whether the entire DORA was dissolved or a portion thereof.
  • If a portion of the DORA is dissolved, the legislative authority must provide us updated boundaries that remain within the DORA, including any street listings.

Upon receipt of the dissolution notice, we must revoke all DORA designations issued to establishments within the dissolved area.

A Legislative Authority must review its DORA every 5 years.  

The Legislative Authority of a Municipal Corporation or Township in which a DORA is located is required to review the operation of the DORA every five years as long as the DORA is in operation. 

As part of the review, the Legislative Authority must adopt an ordinance or resolution either approving the DORA's continued operation or dissolving it. Prior to adopting the ordinance or resolution, the Legislative Authority must give notice of the proposed action by publication in the same manner as specified above in this document.

APPENDIX A: Street Boundary Information:

To ensure we have a consistent method for processing street listings for its DORAs, we require the Legislative Authority send the street listings in an excel file using the following format: 

What do we do with the street listings provided to it?

  • We use the street listings provided by the Legislative Authority to determine what permit holder/applicants are within the boundaries of the DORA.  
  • For those permit holder/applicants that are verified to be within the DORA, we affix an “Outdoor Refreshment Area” designation.
  • If the street address of a permit holder or applicant is found to be outside the DORA, we will not affix the DORA designation unless and until the Legislative Authority passes another Ordinance or Resolution expanding the DORA provided that the expansion would not exceed the maximum size of the DORA permitted by law (See above for details). 
  • Any initial or revised street boundary listing must be in the format referenced above.
  • If the land within an existing DORA is further developed such that new street addresses are added, the Legislative Authority must update its street boundary list with us. 
  • This updated list must be submitted in the same format referenced above and include, the effective date of the new streets. This helps both us and the Legislative Authority keep track of the historical developments in regard to the boundaries of that DORA.

APPENDIX B: Open Container Law – DORA exemption 4301.62

Ohio’s Open Container Law generally prohibits a person from carrying an opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor in any public place. A DORA allows a person who purchases beer or intoxicating liquor from the holder of a DORA designated permit to possess or consume that beverage in an opened container at any outdoor location within the DORA. However, no person may:

  • Take an opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor purchased elsewhere into another liquor permitted establishment; or 
  • Possess an opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor while being in or on a motor vehicle in a DORA unless the:
  • motor vehicle is stationary and is not being operated in a lane of vehicular travel, or 
  • possession is otherwise authorized under other exemptions to the Open Container Law governing chauffeured limousines or the transport of opened bottles of wine that are properly resealed.  

Any questions regarding the enforcement of Ohio’s liquor laws must be addressed to the Ohio Department of Public Safety and/or your local law enforcement agency.