'It definitely could work': Raleigh City Council adopts 'social districts' ordinance

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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The proposal was in conjunction with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance as a "valuable tool to increase economic activity and the vibrancy of downtown Raleigh."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you've ever been to New Orleans and enjoyed an alcoholic beverage while in the French Quarter; think something similar.

Raleigh City Council adopted a new ordinance Tuesday afternoon at their meeting that would designate a social district centered around Fayetteville Street to allow just that. Visitors to downtown Raleigh bars and restaurants within the social district would be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage and leave the facility with their beverage to go elsewhere within the district's boundaries.

The proposal was in conjunction with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance as a "valuable tool to increase economic activity and the vibrancy of downtown Raleigh."

"It definitely could work if it's executed the right way," said Sir Walter Coffee employee Kelsey Holland. "There's a fine line between it working and being a complete chaos situation."

City staff have been directed to come up with management and maintenance plans for how the program would essentially operate.

"It has to have a lot of caution around it," added Holland, "because this is something -- you want people to be safe on the way home."

Holland feels the City should incentivize people to cooperate by the rules of the new ordinance with ride share discounts if they want a safe ride home.

"If we can get an Uber or a Lyft code maybe for the social districts," Holland asked. In her challenge to the Council, Holland asked, "Are we going to be held responsible if people decide to get in their car and drink and drive and get caught? What are the repercussions?"

Businesses are said to be working with the City and Downtown Raleigh Alliance to figure out how best this program to work that won't be a detriment to their bottom line.

"You don't want to lose business at your business because people are dinking somewhere else and coming to hang out and drink the drinks that they got somewhere else," said Holland.

The ordinance takes effect August 15.