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Town of Herndon explores allowing alcoholic drinks in downtown Herndon

The Herndon Town Council could allow the consumption of alcohol in select areas of downtown Herndon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The possession and consumption of alcoholic drinks could be allowed in some public areas in the Town of Herndon.

The Herndon Town Council is considering legislation that would allow the town to create Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORAs) in the Downtown Herndon Arts District. Businesses will need licenses for outdoor refreshment areas from the ABC.

Town staff met with Downtown Herndon restaurants in July to explore the idea, according to Dennis Holste, the town’s economic development manager.

So far, the fiscal impact of the project is unclear, Holste wrote.

“These resource commitments will include such budget categories as labor, most likely overtime or contractor support, vehicles and equipment used for road closures, and increases to insurance premiums. A non-profit taking over as the DORA sponsor would help to reduce the town’s fiscal commitment,” he wrote.

Any alcohol within the area must be purchased from an ABC-licensed vendor within the designated DORA.

Each licensee is limited to certain conditions. For example, businesses cannot have more than 16 events where alcohol beverages are sold in the DORA area. Each event also cannot exceed three consequence days.

If the proposal is approved, the town would install signage along public sidewalks near the DORAs. Each sign will delineate where alcohol consumption is not allowed or restricted between midnight and 10 a.m.

Any private property owner within the DORA could prohibit the consumption of alcohol on their property. People also won’t be allowed to consume alcohol within town-owned buildings or facilities — unless otherwise approved — or on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

The Herndon Police Department plans to patrol the DORAs to monitor compliance and ensure enough security is present for special events within those areas.

If passed, the legislation won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2023. The state recently enacted legislation allowing localities to establish DORAs.

The council plans to discuss the matter a meeting tonight (Tuesday).

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