08/23/12 — City looks at two Internet cafe sites

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City looks at two Internet cafe sites

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 23, 2012 1:46 PM

An attempt to bring an Internet cafe closer to the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base gate will likely fail after the applicant asking for the property to be rezoned to allow for such an establishment reversed course and asked for the Goldsboro City Council to deny the request at Monday's meeting.

Assistant Planning Director James Rowe had just announced the public hearing concerning the property at the northwest corner of South Berkeley Boulevard and East Elm Street when he told council members that he had just been approached by the applicant who said that he wished for it to be denied.

Apparently officials with Seymour Johnson had said they had no issues with the establishment opening just feet from the base gate, so long as it closed by 9 p.m.

The applicant had planned to close the Internet cafe he operated just north of the property where city ordinances allow the establishment to remain open until 2 a.m. The city has a setback requirement that those establishments cannot operate within 200 feet of each other, residential areas, churches or schools.

City Attorney Jim Womble advised the council to proceed with the public hearing regardless of the applicant's request, although no one appeared to speak on the matter.

The Planning Commission will look over the request at its Aug. 27 meeting along with the request for a conditional use permit for another Internet cafe, this one at the northwest corner of North William Street and Hooks River Road. The electronic gaming establishment would occupy a vacant property within the gas station store there.

Two residents from the nearby area spoke out against the request, saying that there were already many problems in the North End.

The Internet cafe would be open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. and would feature eight computers, eight gaming machines and two employees.

District 3 Councilman William Goodman asked about the parking space modification, which requests the council waive a requirement that the shopping center provide 46 parking spaces. The establishment has 18 on the site.

The setback requirement from residentially zoned property would also need to be waived, as the property is adjacent to residential property to the west.