CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte City Council discussed proposed plans to introduce social districts in Charlotte Monday night.
Social districts allow people to carry alcohol on specially-permitted streets or public parks.
So far, the city says Plaza Midwood has filed its pre-application, but WCNC Charlotte is learning there's another neighborhood looking to be at the forefront of social districts in Charlotte.
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Businesses in Charlotte's Lower South End (LoSo) neighborhood told WCNC Charlotte they think a social district would thrive in the area.
“The social district option for business owners is incredible,” Mike Holt, co-founder of Weathered Souls Brewing Company, said. “It’s a win-win.”
Holt said there are several businesses along Dewitt Lane near Clanton Road that think a social district would be ideal for the neighborhood. Holt said some of those businesses include Beacon Partners, Birdie Yang (Yama brand), Gilde Brewery, and State of Confusion.
"Block parties, live music, stage band, and spend a great afternoon sampling everything with your group,” Holt envisions.
Holt said a social district would attract tourists and encourage people to spend their money at Charlotte businesses.
North Carolina towns with social districts in the Charlotte area
Sipping and strolling were made possible after Governor Cooper signed a law allowing them back in September 2021.
“Already there’s social districts in the outlining towns right, and to compete as a city, it's something we have to consider," Holt said. "With the proper guard rails in place, it’s a very business-friendly option."
Charlotte approved the creation of social districts back in August. In December, city officials said Plaza Midwood submitted paperwork to become a social district. However, the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association said things have moved slowly.
"We're a little bewildered and frustrated with the length of the process,” Russell Fergusson, of the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association, said.
Meanwhile, residents are hopeful LoSo will be the next social destination.
“I think this area would be good for that," William Mason, a resident in the neighborhood, said. "We have a good community over this way in South End."
Charlotte City Council does have to approve each application submitted for a social district.
City officials are still hammering out specifics about what patrons and businesses would be allowed to do in Charlotte's social districts. A public comment session for the first applications is expected in the next month or two, and the council could approve districts as early as May.
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