08/28/12 — Board asks to deny Internet cafe sites

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Board asks to deny Internet cafe sites

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 28, 2012 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro Planning Commission recommended the denial of two requests from applicants to open Internet cafes in the city during its Monday meeting, while suggesting.approving two site and landscape plans and granting an ordinance variance as the Board of Adjustment.

The recommendations will be relayed to the Goldsboro City Council at its Sept. 4 meeting.

Both Internet cafe requests -- one for rezoning, the other for a conditional use permit -- were found to come short of parking and setback requirements.

The request by Wesley Barefoot to rezone the northwest corner of East Elm Street and South Berkeley Boulevard to general business conditional district was unofficially called back during the Aug. 20 meeting of the City Council as the applicant, upon learning that Seymour Johnson Air Force Base wanted the gaming establishment, which would operate just feet from the base gate, to close at 9 p.m., asked that it be denied.

The applicant currently operates the Internet cafe just north of the property where hours for use wouldn't be as restricted. The hours of operation for Internet cafes in the city are limited to 7 a.m. until 2 a.m.

Commissioners recommended denying the request due to the proposed business being within 200 feet of residentially zoned property -- a violation of the setback requirement -- and a lack of adequate parking. According to the city's formula, two parking spaces are required per computer and one space per employee, meaning the operation would need 65 parking spaces. There are only 38 on the property.

Those same shortcomings were cited in the second Internet cafe request, this time for a conditional use permit at the northwest corner of North William Street and Hooks River Road.

That property is adjacent to residentially zoned property to the west and also contains 18 of 46 required parking spaces -- two violations of requirements the Planning Commission declined to ignore.

The commissioners will recommend the council approve the site plan for Berky Perkins, who plans to outfit an old furniture warehouse on North George Street to be rented out and another submitted by Griffin Exterminating to perform work on the property where Wanda's formerly operated on North William Street.

The commissioners did, however, suggest Perkins perform required tree work along George Street, although he had asked for a waiver of that landscaping requirement. Griffin was asked to pay the sidewalk fee in lieu, a fee the company had asked to be waived.

The commission also sat in its capacity as the city's board of adjustment, as Sidney Barfield asked that his property off Tommy's Road be considered a proper lot, despite it not having minimum frontage along a street or easement -- a requirement stipulated by city ordinance.

The plot lies between Hare Road and Clara Monte Drive in the far reaches of the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction and Barfield said he's only seeking to build a house on the property, which is accessible by a gravel driveway.