WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Mayor Donald Sadler cast the tie-breaking vote Monday in favor of a resolution to designate a social district in downtown Washington.
Councilwoman Lou Hodges was absent from the meeting. Councilmen Mike Renn and Richard Brooks voted in favor of the resolution. Bobby Roberson and William Pitt voted against it.
City Manager Jonathan Russell said the approval would be an “initial step” in the creation of the social district. Officials hope to have the social district implemented within the next two months.
“We will go through the application process with the ABC Commission,” said Washington Harbor District Alliance Executive Director Meg Howdy. “That’s a quick process because it’s just a form. The big part was the steps that we’ve already done with going through of the steps for our staff to help with the City of Washington. So there’s been a lot of work in advance for that. But things like getting signage, and we will start the process now to educate the public. We want to make sure that everybody is able to do this in a safe and fun manner.”
State law defines a social district as “A defined outdoor area in which a person may consume alcoholic beverages sold by a permittee.” The proposed boundaries of Washington’s social district are shown below.
“We’ve had over 22 towns in North Carolina have already done this,” Howdy said. “So we’ve done a lot of research. Thanks to Chief (Stacy) Drakeford and Jonathan Russell, our city manager, we sat down and really looked at what’s going to be best for our residents, as well as our tourists that come and visit our beautiful town.”
According to a draft ordinance, the social district rules would be in effect Thursday-Friday from 5 – 10 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.