The first Greensboro City Council meeting of 2023 begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3.

However, unless you are a member of the City Council there is no reason to be there at 4 p.m. because the meeting begins with a closed session.  Mayor Nancy Vaughan will call the meeting to order and a motion will be made to go into closed session and the City Council will disappear out the back door of the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber.

The City Council has scheduled the public meeting to resume at 5:30 p.m. in the council chamber, but the public portion of the meeting often starts late when it follows a closed session.

The first meeting of the year begins right where the last meeting of the year left off – with an ordinance on “social districts.”  What the state calls a social district is an area where people are allowed to wander around the sidewalks and streets with alcoholic beverages.

Greensboro named its downtown social district “The BORO,” and city staff wants to expand it.  The City Council passed the ordinance creating The BORO in December 2021, but the social district wasn’t implemented until March 1, 2022.

According to Greensboro Police Chief John Thompson, there have been no incidents reported that were caused by the relaxed alcohol consumption regulations in the social district.

District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny was not a member of the City Council in December 2021, but as president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI), Matheny was instrumental in creating The BORO.

What is on the agenda for the Jan. 3 meeting is an expansion of The BORO to include Center City Park and some other areas.  Matheny requested that the proposed expansion be removed from the agenda when it was brought up at the Dec. 6 City Council meeting.

Before that meeting Matheny noted that The BORO was in District 3 and that he was the head of DGI in charge of downtown development, but Matheny said that he had not been informed or consulted about the proposed expansion of the social district.

At the Dec. 6 meeting, Matheny said he was opposed to continuing the item to Jan. 3 because he didn’t think it should be on the agenda at all.