CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s a move council member Tariq Bokhari called a “no-brainer.” Monday night, Charlotte City Council voted 9-2 to approve the Plaza Midwood Social District, the first to come to the city.

“It will probably be the cleanest, most organized, and orderly operation around this front that will ever see with the benefit of also having the economic impact that we need,” said Bokhari. 

Most members favored approving the social district, but much of the discussion surrounded concerns of public intoxication and the ongoing issue of defecation seen in areas of Uptown. 

“Why is this even before us tonight to approve an amendment to look at a social district?” asked Councilwoman LaWana Slack-Mayfield. “Well, we are having challenges that we’re not even addressing laws versus what is allowed in these social districts.” 

Most council members said the social districts and public intoxication concerns were separate issues. 

“No one in the community should associate the problems in the community you see every day with this, which is probably going to be managed 100 times better than the average place in town you’re going to see because of all the people who have worked so hard to structure it,” Bokhari said. 

“What is still illegal around the city is still illegal in social districts,” Councilman Braxton Winston added. 

The social district will allow customers to carry alcoholic beverages from business to business in the district running along Central Avenue and areas around Pecan Street and Thomas Avenue. The cups are expected to be stainless steel, with neighborhood leaders hoping its with sustainability.

Council members supporting the measure kept mentioning the lengthy application process. The district’s operators, Plaza Midwood Merchants Association, went through several rounds of interviews, getting neighborhood support and signatures, and the acceptance of responsibility to maintain health and safety standards. 

“They have a very stringent process that they will be executing, they will have ambassadors in the community, and once they bring it online, they they’re also planning to have a soft opening so they can pressure test it like retailers of retail outlets do,” said councilwoman Dante Anderson, whose District 1 encompasses the district. 

This is the fourth social district to passes in Mecklenburg County, with Plaza Midwood joining Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson.

Council member Renee Johnson also opposed. Once up and running, the social district will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days a week.