Pilot Program: Open Consumption District

Pilot Program: Open Consumption District

This pilot program is a key component of the Fayetteville Outdoor Refreshment Area (ORA) ordinance, which enables the City of Fayetteville to explore if an open consumption district is a good fit for our downtown. The pilot program comprises a smaller subset of streets inside the boundaries of the ORA in which businesses would be able to sell alcoholic beverages "to-go" that could be consumed within the defined area. To begin the program, City staff has numerous requirements that must be completed first. You can learn more about these requirements here

What is the status of the pilot program? 

Cups are being ordered and wrist bands have been received! This week City staff has begun the following items:

  • Notifying City Council members of the proposed pilot program area and rules;
  • Ordering boundary signs and sidewalk clings to clearly show the pilot Open Consumption District boundary;
  • Visiting with alcohol-serving businesses, anchor institutions, and downtown partners to gain their approval/disapproval of the pilot program area (this will be sent to City Council once staff is finished).

Proposed Pilot Program Area

The proposed pilot program area was developed in close coordination with downtown businesses and the Fayetteville Police Department. Its four-sided design is aimed at making the boundary not only simple to understand, but also easy to enforce. The pilot program proposes an area between the streets of Watson to the north, Mountain Street to the south, East Ave to the east, and West Ave to the west. Approved routes outside of the four-sided area ensure businesses west of West Ave, and in the Mill District can participate in making to-go sales. 

Click here to view the proposed pilot program area

What do the green lines mean? The green lines annotate the primary pilot program area where alcoholic beverages in designated cups can be consumed by attendees. It’s four primary sides are designed to make understanding the boundary easier. 

What do the green dashed lines mean? The green dashed lines are also in the pilot program area, these routes aim to expand the ability for businesses to sell "to-go" ORA cups to patrons. As an example, residents could walk from the Square to the Mill District and vice versa and possess and consume alcohol in designated ORA cups. 

Pilot Program Image

What dates and times are being proposed?

During the development of the Outdoor Refreshment Area ordinance and phasing plan, beginning the Open Consumption District pilot program on slower days of the week was proposed as a means to increase sales on the slow days. City staff feels it is important to maintain consistency with what was originally proposed by starting the program on Sunday-Wednesday. Many businesses have requested the program be extended to seven days a week due to the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Per the City’s Phasing Plan, extension beyond Sunday-Wednesday would only be through strong communication and collaboration with businesses and stakeholders in the area. 

What are your thoughts on the overall district and days of the week? Please let us know by filling out this brief questionnaire

Proposed Days: Weekly, Sunday-Wednesday

Proposed Times: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 

What are the rules of the pilot program?

The proposed rules of the pilot program are simple. The rules are also rooted in City law pursuant to the Outdoor Refreshment Area ordinance. 

Proposed Rules for patrons of the Open Consumption District Pilot Program:

  1. ORA Cups must be kept within the program area--look for the boundary signs.  
  2. ORA drinks are allowed Sunday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 
  3. You cannot take an ORA cup into another establishment serving alcohol; you cannot enter a non-alcohol serving business with an ORA cup without that business’s permission.  
  4. Don’t litter. Cups must be disposed of in a designated receptacle. 
  5. Don’t loiter on private property or City-owned property leased to another entity. 
  6. Don’t give your ORA alcoholic beverage to anyone else, even if they are 21 years of age or older. 
  7. Don’t bring in alcoholic beverages from outside the district to consume in ORA cups. Alcoholic beverages must be purchased from participating businesses within the ORA and consumed in designated cups. 
  8. All City and State of Arkansas laws pertaining to alcohol still apply. 
  9. Drink responsibly and enjoy downtown Fayetteville! 

Proposed Rules for businesses participating in the Open Consumption District Pilot Program:

  1. ORA Cups can only be sold during the designated dates and times (Sunday-Wednesday, 10AM-10PM).
  2. Businesses can charge a fee for an ORA cup and wrist band if they wish, but are not required to charge.
  3. Alcoholic Beverages sold for the purpose of being consumed outside of the establishment shall be within a designated ORA Cup.
  4. Patrons who purchase a drink to be consumed outside of the establishment will be I.D.’d to verify they are of legal drinking age and given a designated wrist band by the business. 

How does an alcohol-serving business within the ORA sign up to serve to-go in the pilot program?

Businesses who wish to serve to-go during the pilot program are asked to email the Department of Economic Vitality by clicking here. We will be scheduling a few orientation sessions to go over the logistics and rules. Not sure if you want to participate right away? That is perfectly fine. You may apply to participate after the pilot program begins. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

  • When will the pilot program begin? 
    • The Pilot Program will begin once the boundary signs are installed and the businesses within the district approve of the boundary. The ordinance states the City Council shall be notified at least 3 weeks before the pilot begins. That time period is currently underway. 
  • When does the pilot program end?
    • Currently, the ordinance states the pilot program shall sunset on January 31, 2021. Though the sunset date will need to be extended, no long-term decisions regarding public alcohol consumption should be made until the program can be assessed under conditions of full capacity in Downtown.  
  • Why is there a sunset clause ending the pilot program?
    • We are going to learn a lot during the pilot program. The sunset enables the City to reconvene businesses, stakeholders, anchor institutions, and the Fayetteville Police Department to discuss how the program went, identify changes, and propose a new ordinance to the City Council. This ordinance was carefully crafted in close coordination with businesses; the sunset clause is a commitment to continue to utilize their expertise and knowledge to shape this ordinance. 
  • What do the ORA cups look like and how big are they?
    • The ORA cup design will be posted soon. There are 16-ounce and 12-ounce options. The City is ordering 54,000 cups to launch the program. 
  • Can I take an ORA cup into an event area without the event organizer’s consent?
    • No. ORA cups cannot be taken into an event area unless the event organizer has stated and posted that they are welcome. This decision is up to the event organizers. 
  • What about litter and waste in downtown? How will that be managed?
    • The Department of Economic Vitality is working closely with the Sustainability Department to distribute more waste receptacles throughout the pilot program area.