By Linda Dillman
Despite its name – Community Entertainment District – don’t expect to see a variety of entertainment venues such as concert halls or movie facilities popping up in Canal Winchester as city council considers establishing a pair of the districts in the city’s commercial corridor.
According to Canal Winchester city officials, the entertainment districts are intended as a development tool to help the city attract more restaurants and bars by freeing up new liquor permits. Currently, companies expressing interest in the city must go on a waiting list for a new D5 permit since none are available at this time.
Intended for both the Diley and Gender roads commercial areas, the district designation establishes the opportunity for 15 new all-encompassing D5J liquor permits in each entertainment district. A D5J permit – the same as a D5 permit but only available within the district – allows the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks for on-premises consumption or off premises in original sealed containers, until 2:30 a.m.
The fee for both permits is the same—$2,344.
Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire said profit margins on liquor sales for restaurants and bars are much higher than the profit on food sales. Many restaurant business models depend on liquor sales to remain open and profitable.
Haire emphasized the districts do not override present zoning and building code regulations. They merely make new permits available to businesses, which must also obtain or own a food permit in conjunction with the liquor permit, and would be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The permits are similar to licenses already available,” Haire said. “They must remain within the district area and cannot be transferred. We currently have a waiting list for D5 permits. If a business with a D5 permit upgrades to a new D5J permit, it would free up their old permit for another business. Right now, there is a major hurdle to opening a restaurant in Canal Winchester because none are available.”
Paperwork connected with the pair of proposed ordinances – if approved by council – would be forwarded to the state’s Department of Liquor Control in order to establish the districts. The city could also hold public hearings prior to finalization of the two districts, which are situated in the busiest commercial corridors in Canal Winchester.
While advocating for the public hearings, which are not required as part of the district designation process, Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon voiced support for the endeavor.
“It lowers the barrier to entering this area,” said Mershon, who felt the districts would attract many more restaurants to Canal Winchester.
CW pool rates/memberships
Public Service Director Matt Peoples presented a final draft of legislation changing the community swimming pool rate and membership structure.
In addition to eliminating a school district residential requirement in lieu of a non-resident category, the new structure includes a variety of levels and tightens up rules regarding unaccompanied minors.
Children under 10 must now be accompanied by an adult 16 or older and children five and under must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old. Family memberships now include a provision for one caregiver and senior memberships for residents are still free. Non-resident seniors will be charged $25 for a pool pass.
The Sunbather’s Pass for a resident for the full season is $99 for residents and $119 for non-residents. Rates are reduced for active duty military $79/$89 and the same reduced rates apply for the same pass after July 5. Family rates are $199 for residents and $239 for non-residents. After July 5, the rates drop to $149 and $179.
There are also Twilight passes for individuals and families accessing the pool only after 5 p.m. or Weekender passes on Fridays after 5 p.m. and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. The family rate for Canal Winchester Joint Recreation Swim Team members is $129.