Charlotte residents voice support, concerns for social district proposal

CHARLOTTE — Sipping alcohol while strolling down the street received a strong show of support on Monday night as the Charlotte City Council heard from the public on proposed social districts in the city.

Charlotte leaders have been discussing the idea for months, but the public hearing this week was a step toward making the proposal a reality.

Overall, people voiced support Monday night for the idea of walking around a neighborhood like NoDa or Plaza Midwood with a drink in their hand.

Concerns were raised, however, about how much trash the social districts could create.

In previous meetings, Charlotte leaders discussed what rules they would put in place if neighborhoods are interested in setting up their own social districts. Current state laws allow cities to set up areas where people can openly carry and drink alcohol purchased from businesses.

ABC rules mandate that all cups in social districts have to be plastic and must include the phrase “Drink Responsibly - Be 21.”

Some residents worried all the plastic could create a lot of litter. They suggested using reusable cups or something compostable to reduce waste.

“We now know that recycling has failed, neither Mecklenburg County nor any private entity in the county is able to recycle this kind of cup,” said Nancy Pierce, who lives in Plaza Midwood. “Even if it could, most plastic cups and food containers are so dirty and mixed with incompatible plastic that they can’t be recycled anyway.”

A vote on adopting social districts as a city policy is scheduled for next Monday, Aug. 22.

Charlotte is behind many cities in the state in adopting social districts.

Raleigh just announced a social district downtown. Hickory has one in place and Kannapolis was the first in the state to launch one. Kannapolis business owners said earlier this year the program is a hit and there haven’t been any issues.

If passed, social districts likely won’t launch in Charlotte until the fall.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte bar, restaurant owners push for ‘social district’ approval)