Alcohol to be allowed in downtown Overland Park’s Edison District courtyard under ‘common consumption’ law

Roxie Hammill - October 10, 2019 8:00 am
The open courtyard area at the Edison District will be open to alcohol consumption. The Kansas legislature this year passed a law allowing for such “common consumption” areas.

Patrons at the Edison development’s food hall will be able to carry their alcohol into the building’s courtyard once the hall is up and running.

The Overland Park City Council approved a “common consumption area” for the Strang Hall food court, which may open as early as November. Common consumption areas allow customers to carry their drinks into designated gathering areas outside the establishments. In Edison’s case, that means a courtyard between buildings.

The council granted one year’s permission to operate the common area seven days a week. Hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m.–midnight Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.–midnight Saturday; and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

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There are several restrictions on how the area is run. Customers can’t bring in outside alcohol, for instance, and drinks must be served in non-glass containers with the name of the business where they are purchased. Strang Hall would also be expected to abide by the city’s noise ordinance and security personnel must also be on hand to enforce the boundaries. Additionally, there’s an exception on the hours for New Year’s Eve.

The outdoor area is 14,000 square feet, with seating for 40. If the hall managers expect to draw more than the capacity of 441 people, they must get a special event permit.

Common consumption areas are a relatively new concept in Kansas, having just been legalized by the state in 2017. They are part of a planning philosophy that encourages central gathering places among the stores and offices, with the biggest metro example being the Power and Light district in Kansas City, Mo.

The Edison project is in the heart of Overland Park’s downtown and was proposed with the idea of creating a gathering space for such things as sports watch parties. The gathering space was a key component of the Edison project when it was first proposed, although some aspects, such as a large viewing screen, have since been scaled back.

Councilmember Logan Heley said the courtyard area will be a good addition to downtown. “I’m very excited about that this is going to do for our downtown in a positive way,” he said.

Although the city gave its unanimous approval Monday, Strang Hall must complete the process by getting an occupancy permit and some state permits before the common consumption area will be open.

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