CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Charlotte City Council welcomed public comment on Monday night for a proposed plan to open a social district in Plaza Midwood.
The concept of a social district started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Roy Cooper passed a law in 2021, allowing social districts in North Carolina.
While Charlotte City Council passed social districts overall in August 2022, it did not launch an application process until March of 2023.
“We’ve been working on this for a couple of years, I mean a year and a half definitely, diligently since the city gave us the regulations to be able to officially apply,” said Jason Michel, executive director of the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association.
Michel says the application process was rigorous, but it ensures that there is a solid management plan in place.
The district’s proposal includes a map of the designated drinking area, the use of reusable cups, signage, and protocol.
“We are just very excited about the plan we have, and we are ready to hear what the city council has to say about it,” Michel said.
Citizens got to tell city leaders what they think about the plan on Monday. Council member Tariq Bokhari says it’s a big step.
“While we are making some progress on the council agenda tonight, we are going to get the Plaza Midwood public hearing, which is the major step that we have been waiting for,” he said. “But it does beg the question, ‘Why is it taking so long?’”
Bokhari has been advocating for social districts since the concept was first introduced in Charlotte. He said they not only have the capability of bringing communities together but also boost the local economy.
“For me, it was, when implemented appropriately, it’s great. It’s a win, win,” he said.