Elon Town Council approved a local occupancy tax, set at 3%, for hotels in Elon. During its meeting on Feb. 13, Elon joined the Alamance County Municipal Tourism Development Authority alongside Burlington; Mebane and Graham have yet to vote on the matter. The tax is set to be put into effect on July 1. 

With the Inn at Elon being one of the only hotels in town, this tax would draw from university revenue made through the Inn.

The council also debated extending the lease for Toasty Kettlyst's location on North Holt Avenue’s green space.

This past fall, the Elon Town Council granted Toasty Kettlyst — a nano brewery that operates out of Gibsonville — a temporary lease to test the success of a beer garden in Elon. A beer garden is typically an outdoor area where customers can purchase beer and sometimes food.

Due to several factors, such as inclement weather, the Toasty Kettlyst was not able to operate at its full capacity. Because of this, owner Praveen Karandikar wants to extend the lease for the spring and summer of 2024 to truly see if the beer garden is a viable program.

Lauren Winslow | Elon News Network
Vice President of the Downtown Advisory Board Mackenzie Brown speaks during an Elon Town Council meeting on Feb. 13.

Downtown Advisory Board members Mackenzie Brown and Kimberly Holt believe that a greater variety of breweries, such as Burlington Beer Works, Little Brother Brewing, Fat Froggs and Bright Penny Brewing, should be involved if the outdoor space is going to be designated as a beer garden. 

But Mayor Emily Sharpe and town council member Quinn Ray voiced their concerns directly to Karandikar over making the green space a beer garden. 

“Our goal is to bring people to our downtown and give them things to do,” Ray said. “But when we speak of something long-term like this, other than it just giving a place for people to gather and make you money, where does it fit into the town's long-term plan?” 

Sharpe also said she was concerned about how the beer garden would add to Elon’s social district and how the presence of a beer garden could potentially hurt Elon’s other downtown businesses. 

“I think that the space that we built is beautiful,” Sharpe said. “The space was originally designated as a parklet and we never programmed it, we never did a good job.” 

Rather than giving the beer garden another trial period, Sharpe thinks the town should try and use it to its full potential and would like to see it become a welcoming space for everyone. 

“I think that there’s more opportunity that we’re not exploring,” Sharpe said. “We haven’t really thought about what that space can truly be.” 

Unable to come to a consensus — and due to the absence of two council members: Stephanie Bourland and Randy Orwig — the council decided to table the discussion till the next meeting on Feb. 26. They also asked the representatives of the Downtown Advisory Board to come up with other options for how the green space could be utilized.