08/20/12 — Wayne County to consider Internet cafe rules Tuesday

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Wayne County to consider Internet cafe rules Tuesday

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 20, 2012 1:46 PM

How, or if, Wayne County will regulate Internet or sweepstakes cafes could be decided when Wayne County commissioners meet Tuesday morning.

A proposed zoning ordinance that would force the cafes to close by 11 p.m. and be no closer than 1,000 feet to any home, school or church has been discussed by commissioners for the past several months.

No one spoke against the ordinance during a public hearing earlier this month, but two speakers said it was needed.

One speaker, the Rev. Jerry Mitchell, pastor of Garris Chapel Methodist Church, said that he would like to see the proposed setback be one mile outside the Wayne County line.

Mitchell said that a more restrictive ordinance is needed to regulate the businesses that he said "prey" on people.

Tuesday's meeting will get under way at 8 a.m. with an agenda briefing followed by the formal session at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Commissioners took no action on the proposal following the hearing, and instead approved a motion by Commissioner Steve Keen to table the issue until Tuesday to allow time to study comments made during the hearing.

Currently, the county has no rules regulating the cafes.

If approved, existing operations would have 12 months to become compliant with the new rules -- in some cases meaning they could have to shut down or relocate.

State-sponsored lotteries would be exempt, and the ordinance would not apply to any of the businesses located inside a municipality.

It would prohibit alcohol sales or consumption at the sites, and the county fire marshal would establish an occupancy limit prior to submission of the operation's permit application.

The proposed ordinance would set a maximum daily cash payout of $600. Any amount above that would have to be paid by check or credit.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners will be asked to approve a pay increase for members of the Wayne County ABC Board and its chairman.

Commissioners appoint the board that oversees the sale of alcohol in the county. The board normally meets on a monthly basis, while the chairman meets weekly with the ABC manager to sign checks and monitor the operation of the board.

Currently, board members are paid $75 a month, and the chairman receives $125. ABC officials said that according to board records, the rate has not changed in at least 20 years.

Commissioners will be asked to increase the monthly compensation to $150 for board member and chairman as allowed by state law.

Also on the agenda commissioners will:

*Hold a work session to draft ideas for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners' legislative goals proposals for 2013-14

*Be asked to approve a one-lot subdivision being developed by Jimmy Kornegay on the east side of Piney Grove Church Road

*Consider declaring as surplus three pieces of property the county jointly owns with the town of Mount Olive and transferring the property to the town

*Be asked to approve a petition to add Waverly Drive and Ashland Drive in the Meares Bluff subdivision to the state highway maintenance program.