Bellbrook proposes two new ‘entertainment districts’ downtown

Public hearing on both CED designations to be held in May.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Bellbrook has proposed designating two sections of the city’s historic downtown as “community entertainment districts,” which would allow for an additional pool of liquor permits to be issued within the district, potentially boosting economic growth, city documents show.

The proposed “Bellbrook East” entertainment district is comprised of most of Bellbrook’s Historic Old Village District, which includes Macintosh Tavern, Veli’s Pizzeria, and Bellbrook Brewing Company, the Winters-Bellbrook Community Library, Bellbrook’s Historical Museum, and many other small businesses.

A new full-service restaurant and craft cocktail lounge are being considered for the proposed district.

The proposed “Bellbrook West” community entertainment district is 23 acres located along West Franklin Street, between Mill Pond Drive and Wilmington Pike, and contains several active small businesses and a seven-acre undeveloped area, according to city documents.

Bellbrook is at its limit for certain types of liquor permits, city manager Rob Schommer said, and so any new businesses, such as the aforementioned restaurant and cocktail lounge, could run into obstacles if they wanted to serve alcohol without certain restrictions.

“This opens that up and matches the call from our community to revitalize our downtown and bring places that our community can come out to walk, to enjoy, gather, etc.,” Schommer said.

City council introduced the legislation in April, and a required public hearing on the proposed districts will be at 7 p.m. during the May 13 council meeting.

The city has been working hard to move forward on the plans for redevelopment of Bellbrook’s downtown, and establishing these districts is consistent with what the community has asked for, Bellbrook Mayor Mike Schweller said, and makes Bellbrook a more attractive place to open a business.

“We currently have significant interest for projects to come into Bellbrook, and one obstacle is limiting the ability for licensing to operate through Ohio’s quota system for establishments that serve beer, wine and liquor,” Schweller said.

“This project is another example of how the city continues to work towards meeting the service needs of the community. We are excited to have our Downtown Revitalization efforts and plans in action, showing we are committed to keeping the promises we make to the community,” he added.

The city has already received some positive feedback about the proposal from individuals “looking forward to additional opportunities to enjoy downtown,” Schommer said.

Ohio law assigns an additional number of liquor licenses for areas that are poised for significant economic investment, allowing one additional license per every five acres in the established district, to a maximum of 15.

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