Wichita City Council Takes Step Toward Allowing Outdoor Drinking Districts

Jan 16, 2018

The City Council gave initial approval to an ordinance allowing outdoor drinking areas ahead of this spring’s NCAA basketball games in Wichita.

The ordinance builds off of a 2017 state law that allows cities to issue permits for “common consumption areas," similar to the Power and Light District in Kansas City.

Applicants can get a permit for $100 to establish an indoor-outdoor area where people can openly drink alcohol. Wichita officials expect to issue about 10 permits a year.

In order to qualify for a permit, an applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have no felonies within the last five years
  • Never had a liquor license revoked
  • Provide proof of liability insurance

Council members and local businesses want the ordinance in place before the NCAA tournament in March, but questions remain about liability.

Pete Meitzner said he wants to look at how other cities have handled similar laws.

“I have a feeling that there’s other states that are allowing this kind of stuff without all these hurdles, and that’s where I’m trying to get to," he said. "How do we make our area and our state friendly like the rest of the country, in parts?”

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