01/09/13 — Cafe permit denied

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Cafe permit denied

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 9, 2013 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council denied a conditional use permit for an Internet cafe Monday on the heels of a decision by the state's highest court that the sweepstakes games the businesses offer constitute gambling and are illegal.

The Planning Commission recommended denial of the permit at its Dec. 17 meeting, citing ordinance violations and the N.C. Supreme Court's decision, which was to go into effect Jan. 1, banning many of the technologies used in the cafes.

The City Council followed up on that advice, denying the permit that would have allowed the 16th such establishment within Goldsboro.

The council also approved the acceptance of a $125,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce to support the city's efforts to protect the mission of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The city aims to spend $120,000 to partner with a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for hiring bird harassment personnel to help discourage birds from nesting in the city's water basins.

The remaining $90,000 will go to the Military Affairs Commission.

Another $20,000 will be used to commission a study of the water basins to evaluate alternatives to reduce bird attraction there.

Council members discussed the 50 percent local match required for the grant, and District 5 Councilman Chuck Allen floated the idea of inviting the county to split it.

"I think we should at least ask them," Allen said.

Council members also discussed splitting another cost concerning Seymour Johnson as organizers of the Wings Over Wayne Air Show have asked for $30,000 from the two boards to bring in the aerial entertainment, including the Blue Angels.

The council voted to give its share, which will come from the Occupancy Tax Fund, a coffer built from hotel room taxes.

The council passed two resolutions with implications in Raleigh, as one opposes legislation that provides for the forced transfer of a municipal water system in Asheville to a metropolitan sewer district. Statewide legislation was proposed in 2011, but the Asheville bill was proposed last session.

That bill is expected to be considered this year, which City Manager Scott Stevens and Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said could result in similar legislation elsewhere.

"It sets the precedent," Mayor Pro Tem Michael Headen inferred from their discussion.

Mrs. Brashear said that was the case.

"It's one you really don't' want to start in North Carolina," she said.

Stevens added that the request from the League of Municipalities, a lobbying firm with municipal members across the state, had convinced him that the resolution was necessary.

A second resolution, which was added to the consent agenda after Mrs. Brashear spoke on it, asks for the state to continue to financially support the Clean Water Management Trust Fund -- a fund that has benefited the city most recently with a grant to pay for work along Stoney Creek.

Stevens cautioned that it was unclear how the new General Assembly would react to such a request, noting that the state could consider using portions of the city's allocation to fund the program.

The council decided to tack the measure onto the consent agenda regardless and the measure was approved, along with the rest of the consent agenda items, by a 6-0 vote.

District 3 Councilman William Goodman was not at the meeting.