07/08/12 — County commissioners to eye zoning around Internet parlors

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County commissioners to eye zoning around Internet parlors

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 8, 2012 1:50 AM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning will continue efforts to craft an ordinance amendment governing the location and operation of Internet or sweepstakes cafes countywide -- even in areas where the county does not have zoning in place.

The county Planning Board's proposed ordinance amendment will be the topic of a work session at the conclusion of the commissioners' meeting. An agenda briefing will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the formal meeting at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

At the board's June 19 session, Commissioner Jack Best said the proposed 300-foot buffer between the gaming cafes and surrounding homes, churches and schools was not enough.

It should be at least 1,000 feet, a quarter of a mile or even a half mile, he said. Best suggested the Planning Board reconsider the setback.

However, the proposed amendment would still require the gaming operations to be at least 300 feet from a residence.

It would allow a gaming operation within that boundary if there is only one home within the 300-foot radius of the operation site, and provided that the homeowner signs an approval agreement. The agreement would be recorded with the Wayne County Register of Deeds.

Also, applicants for gaming operations would be required to submit a current, straight-line drawing depicting the straight-line measurements to each surrounding home, church, park, day care, school, other gaming operation and adult entertainment sites that are within 600 feet of the establishment.

Commissioners would have to hold a public hearing on the proposal before any action could be taken. The board could then approve the amendment as written, ask for changes, or not act at all.

The amendment, which excludes state-approved lotteries, would allow an electronic gaming operation as a permitted use in community shopping, light industry or height-restricted districts, as well as in all commercial operations in unzoned areas. It would not be a permitted use in village district zones.

It would limit the hours of operation to 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Alcohol sales or consumption would be prohibited. The county fire marshal would establish an occupancy limit prior to submission of the operation's permit application.

The ordinance would set a maximum daily cash payout not to exceed $600. Winnings above that amount would have to be paid by check or credit.

In other business Tuesday:

* Goldsboro Worship Center Senior Pastor Danny Johnson and Youth Pastor Travis Smith will make a presentation on the center's fourth annual Back 2 School Bash on Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is anticipated that 1,500 children will receive backpacks and school supplies during the event. Other activities will include free mentoring and counseling, dental cleanings, haircuts and food.

* The Wayne County Public Library Advisory Board has asked commissioners to approve bylaws for the board.

* Officials with the county tax office will talk with the board about several late applications for present use value exemptions that provide tax breaks when land is used for certain purposes, such as agriculture. The tax office has recommended the applications not be approved.

* Commissioners will be asked to declare as surplus foreclosed properties owned by the county, or that the county jointly owns with Mount Olive, or Fremont, or Goldsboro.

* Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders has asked commissioners to allow one of his office's drug dogs to be retired and sold for $1 to Cpl. Ryan Sasser who has worked with the dog for the past 11 years. The dog, "Linda" was purchased through a federal grant. She is being retired because of her age and health problems. In years past, the county has sold the dogs to their current handler, Winders said.

* Commissioners will tour the new offices of the Services on Aging, Veterans Services and Literacy Connections of Wayne County.

* Sarah Merritt, executive director of the Arts Council of Wayne County, will update commissioners on the council's activities.

* The pubic comment section of the meeting will be held at 10 a.m.