Riverfront Development District


The Elkhart Municipal Riverfront Development District is a tool to encourage the revitalization of Downtown Elkhart and the surrounding area. Dining, entertainment and cultural establishments within the Riverfront Development District can obtain a one-way, two-way or three-way permit at a discounted rate to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption. The District was made possible via state legislation and a resolution passed by the Elkhart City Common Council.

Elkhart’s original Riverfront Development District was established in 2004 and expanded in 2009 and again in 2017 to allow more businesses to take advantage of the program. A copy of the 2017 resolution can be found here.


How were the boundaries determined?
Per Indiana Code, the Riverfront Development District must be no greater than 1,500 feet from the river and must be located within a redevelopment district. The City of Elkhart also reviewed land use patterns and zoning when
establishing the district boundaries. A map showing the Riverfront Development District is shown below.

A map of the current district boundaries is shown below:

2017 Riverfront Development District Map
Who can obtain a license?
Eligible dining, entertainment and cultural establishments within the Riverfront Development District.

Is there a limit to the number of licenses?
No. The number of licenses is not limited within the designated Riverfront Development District.

Who issues the permit?
The State of Indiana through the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC).

What is the cost?
The cost of a three-way license (beer, wine and liquor) within the district is $1,000; the cost for a two-way license (beer and wine) is $750. The fees are payable to the State of Indiana.

Are there any other restrictions?
Yes. Businesses who wish to obtain a Riverfront Development District license are still subject to all local and state requirements. For example, per Indiana Code, if the restaurant building wall is within 200 feet from the wall of a church or school, a written statement from the authorized representative of the church or school is required and must be submitted as part of the application, stating that the church or school does not object to the issuance of a permit.

All local requirements, including but not limited to Planning/Zoning, Building and Health Department requirements, must also be met.

What is the application process?                      

  1. Review the Riverfront Development District map to confirm that your business is within the district.
  2. Contact the City of Elkhart, Office of Community, Economic and Redevelopment at (574) 294-5471 ex 1021.
  3. The Mayor’s Office will provide eligible businesses with an approval letter to include with the Indiana ATC application packet.
  4. Complete the Indiana ATC application packet and submit it, along with the required fees and other documents, to:

    Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC)
    302 W Washington Street, Room E-114

    Indianapolis, IN 46204 

  5. To Appear before the Alcoholic Beverage Board of Elkhart County (Local Board). Please click the link Local Board Information 2020 The Local Board recommendation is sent to the Indiana ATC for review. 
  6. The Indiana ATC votes to approve or deny the request. The Indiana ATC may approve the request, if there are no remonstrators. The Indiana ATC meets the second Tuesday of each month
  7. Submit to a final inspection of the premises by the State Excise Police. This may be done before the Indiana ATC votes.

How long does the process take?
Under normal circumstances, approximately 10-12 weeks from when the application is submitted to the State of Indiana.

What additional documents do I need to submit for a Riverfront Development District license?
In addition to the application and fees, the following must be submitted:

  • A copy of the local ordinance
  • An aerial map showing the boundaries of the Riverfront Development District, with the location of your business
  • Approval letter from the Mayor in support of the application

I currently have an operational 2-way license and would like to obtain a 3-way license. Can I apply for a 3-way license through the Riverfront Development District?
Yes. Contact the Indiana ATC for more information on this.

Can I sell my existing 3-way license and apply for a Riverfront Development District license?
No. This program is only for new licenses.

Can I sell my Riverfront Development License?
No. Unlike a regular 221-3 license, the Riverfront Development District license cannot be sold or transferred.

For questions related to applying for a Riverfront Development District license, contact: 
The City of Elkhart-Economic Development Department at (574) 294-5471 ex 1021

Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission
302 W Washington Street, Room E-114
Indianapolis, IN 46204