TEASER Aerial View of Pinehurst Village

Aerial view of the Village of Pinehurst. 

Members of the Pinehurst Village Council on Tuesday rejected a proposal that would allow people to openly consume alcohol on downtown streets.

A bill signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper in September gives local governments in North Carolina the authority to establish so-called “social districts” where patrons can walk around with alcoholic beverages that have been purchased from authorized vendors. The law requires drinks to be served in non-glass containers with special labeling.

Jeff Batton, assistant manager of operations for the village, brought up the law during Tuesday’s council meeting in an attempt to gauge the members’ interest in “exploring the option of a social district within downtown.”

“To be clear, staff is not recommending the establishment of a social district but rather ensuring Council is aware that statutory authority has been granted to local governments to establish such if desired,” Batton wrote in a memo to the council ahead of the meeting. “A check with Southern Pines and Aberdeen indicates they are not currently considering establishing social districts and staff recommendation would be to not implement one.”

Addressing the council, Batton recalled that the village experimented with a “version of a social district” during both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014. The experiment, he said, left a lot of litter in downtown Pinehurst.

“There was trash in bushes and underneath benches,” he said. “It was everywhere, and it created quite a bit of trash clean-up (for village staff) every morning.”

The matter was quickly dropped after multiple council members stated they had no interest in establishing a social district.

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