DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – One year ago, Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 890 into law. The law allowed municipalities to create so-called social districts. These districts allow for open container drinking within specific set boundaries and hours. The hope is that these districts will encourage more foot traffic for businesses within the selected zone.
Since then, cities around the state have opted to implement social districts. Raleigh, Greensboro, Hickory, and Kannapolis have all created social districts so far.
On Thursday, Durham council members will vote on whether to approve the rules of a proposed social district. A vote to implement the program would happen at a later meeting.
According to a previous survey by Downtown Durham Inc., 80 percent of businesses surveyed downtown were in favor of a social district and 94 percent of the general population said they would be in favor as well.
Council documents say, “although this item is specific to downtown, future ordinances and opportunities to create social districts in other areas of the City are possible.”
If approved as presented, the social district would span many of the streets between Jackie Robinson Drive to West Trinity Avenue. It would also cover most street from South Buchanan Boulevard, southeast towards North Elm Street.
The area includes the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, The Carolina Theater, and Motorco Music Hall. Signs would be posted in the area to indicate boundaries of social district.
Drinking in the district would operate Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. If approved, city documents show the district would become effective Dec. 1.
The Durham City Council meeting starts Thursday at 1 p.m. in council chambers.