03/04/13 — Council's vote could stop nightclub from reopening

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Council's vote could stop nightclub from reopening

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on March 4, 2013 1:46 PM

News-Argus file photo

The nightclub Teasers is now going to be replaced by a beach bingo parlor -- if Goldsboro City Council approves the conditional use permit.

The Goldsboro City Council's decision concerning a beach bingo parlor tonight will likely spell the end of a nightclub with a checkered past.

Teasers Nightclub closed down in December and surrendered its Alcoholic Beverage Control permits last week, but if the City Council issues a conditional use permit for the club's former location tonight, it will to prohibit another establishment similar to Teasers opening up there in the future.

That's because Teasers' existence within the city limits was a nonconforming use, a term used by city planners to indicate a property was grandfathered under the city code.

"Anytime (a nonconforming use business) ceases (operation) for 180 consecutive days or they change to a conforming use, they can't convert back to non-conforming use," Goldsboro Planning Director Randy Guthrie said.

Teasers has been the site of numerous violent crimes in the past, including, most recently, the Sept. 30 murder of an 18-year-old.

The nightclub had its ABC permits suspended after that incident, the second time its permits were suspended within a year.

Those permits were suspended in November 2011 after numerous requests from Goldsboro police after six violent incidents dating back to May 2011.

Tonight, Phoenix T is asking the council to allow the operation of a beach bingo establishment where Teasers was previously on the east side of U.S. 117 between Arrington Bridge Road and South George Street.

Beach bingo parlors are different from bingo parlors as state law defines beach bingo as games that offer prizes valued at $10 or less.

Offering prizes that are valued greater than $10 but less than $50 is grounds for a Class 2 misdemeanor, while offering prizes worth more than $50 is considered a Class 1 felony.

Bingo games run by nonprofits are exempt from those statutes, however.

The beach bingo parlor wasn't the applicant's first choice for the location, however, as Phoenix T filed for a conditional use permit in December to allow for an Internet sweepstakes cafe to open up on the property.

That request was recommended for denial by the Planning Commission based on not meeting minimum ordinance requirements and a decision by the N.C. Supreme Court effectively ruling the operations illegal.

The measure denying the permit was approved by consent.

The Planning Commission recommended during its Feb. 25 meeting that the council approve the new request, allowing for ordinance modifications.

That measure is slated to be approved by consent at tonight's meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Historic City Hall.

It will be preceded by a work session, which begins at 5 p.m.