The Goldsboro Planning Commission denied a conditional-use permit Monday for an internet sweepstake parlor along East Ash Street in a residential area of the city.

Concern about the location near neighborhoods and in an area where people walk to schools, parks and other businesses led the commission to unanimously deny a recommendation to the city council.

The council will make the final decision to approve or deny the permit during its regular meeting on March 6.

The location of the sweepstake parlor has drawn concern from city residents due to its proximity to the county health department, Herman Park Center and Goldsboro High School. Residents have also voiced concern that the business would only worsen the plight of the poor.

Michael Carroll is seeking the permit that would to opening a sweepstake gaming business inside a 3,750-square-foot building in a shopping center, at 706 E. Ash St. The building was last used as a church.

The location fails to meet city site-distance requirements and lacks adequate parking for the proposed sweepstake parlor that would house 40 gaming stations. Carroll has asked for modifications from the required 140 parking spaces to the existing 90 and from a site-distance rule that requires the business locate at least 200 feet from a residential area.

The shopping center's rear parking lot cuts alongside Lionel Street neighborhood homes.

"So, basically, there is zero feet between the residential area and the property," said Chris Boyette, chairman of the planning commission.

Commission member Joyce Duncan also questioned the location where people tend to walk along Ash Street.

"I'm concerned about the parking situation, also the residential being behind and any students walking to schools," Duncan said.

Boyette agreed.

"If it was a shopping center where all the parking was in front and the residential was behind, that would be an adequate separation," Boyette said. "When you're parking behind the building right in somebody's yard, then I can see that can certainly be a concern, particularly when we're being asked to consider a modification request."

The commission also reviewed a rezoning that could pave the way for another shopping center along North Berkeley Boulevard near the mall.

The board voted to rezone several residential and office districts into a general business conditional district at a combined 1.7-acre site on North Berkeley Boulevard.

The applicant, the Hutton Team, a commercial development company out of Chattanooga, Tenn., plans to build a 13,708-square-foot, multi-tenant building on property, which would face Berkeley Boulevard directly across from the Berkeley Mall.

The center is planned for construction on three Berkeley Boulevard properties and a fourth on Langston Drive. The existing two-story real estate building, at the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Ridgecrest Drive, is not part of the project or the rezoning.

Also during the meeting, the commission approved for recommendation to council:

* A conditional-use permit for a video game lounge and retail business at 207 S. Berkeley Blvd., in the Village Square shopping center near Elm Street and SJAFB.

* A zoning change from residential to office and institutional for a quarter-acre property on Atlantic Avenue, between Herman Street and Pineview Avenue. The Gospel Light Temple plans to build a church on the property.

* A zoning change from a shopping center to general business conditional district for a 0.46-acre property on Graves Drive, near Berkeley Boulevard. The applicant, John Best, is seeking the change to increase the marketability of the property.

* A zoning change from residential to a residential manufactured home district, required for the addition of a modular home, on a 0.34-acre property on Central Heights Road, between Tommy's Road and Courtney Road.