Lebanon considering new entertainment district to help restaurants

Lebanon is looking at creating a Community Entertainment District which would enable more restaurants and other establishments to sell beer, wine, and any liquor by the glass.

Jason Millard, city economic development director, said “a CED is a tool to help facilitate new restaurants and other similar establishments as part of larger scale development and redevelopment areas that include the types of uses outlined by the statute.”

Millard said CEDs are a bounded area that includes or will include a combination of entertainment, retail, educational, sporting, social, cultural, or arts establishments within close proximity to some or all of the following types of establishments within the district, or other types of establishments such as hotels, restaurants, retail shops, museums, theaters, etc.

If a CED is established, it would open up a new pool of liquor permits, D-5J, for establishments located inside those boundaries. If a CED is approved, it would allow one new D-5J permit for every five acres up to 75 acres. As many as 15 new D-5J permits could become available with the CED.

According to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control website, Lebanon has a quota of 11 D-5 permits, or one D-5 permit per 2,000 residents that can be issued based on the city’s current population. Currently there is one D-5 permit available in Lebanon with two applications pending, according the liquor control website.

Other cities and areas such as Monroe, Austin Landing, Huber Heights and The Greene have created these districts in recent years.

Millard was proposing a 94.8-acre CED that would include the city’s central business district and the North Broadway Corridor where new development is under way.

He said the city has identified $50.8 million in planned investment, 17 projects, over the next 10 years inside the proposed boundaries and that the proposed area is zoning compliant. Millard also said the proposed area is compliant with the city’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan and the 2017 Downton Master Plan.

Millard said city officials will be meeting with various stakeholders who have D-5 permits including Doc’s Place, The Golden Lamb, Broadway Barrel House and Roll On In on April 14 to discuss the proposed CED.

Mayor Amy Brewer said she was supportive of the project.

“This will help bring in new quality restaurants,” she said. “We need to take advantage as development is occurring.”

Other council members suggested looking at other areas of the city south of downtown and at the Interstate 71/Ohio 48 interchange.

City Manager Scott Brunka said the CED will not automatically expand the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, but if the state approves the CED, council can opt to expand the DORA within the CED boundaries.

City staff is working to complete the application that will be presented to council in the next several weeks. Millard said after council approves submitting the application, it will take 90 to 120 days for the state to review and approve the application.

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