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County to consider gaming center regulation

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

County commissioners will consider regulating Internet sweepstakes gaming operations during tonight’s board meeting.

Zoning Administrator Randy Hawkins will present a suggested amendment to the county’s Unified Development Ordinance, defining electronic gaming centers as “as any business enterprise where persons utilize electronic machines to conduct sweepstakes, lotteries and/or games of chance and where cash or merchandise or other items of value are redeemed or otherwise distributed.”

“This proposal would create a separate classification and regulations for electronic gaming operations, such as Internet sweepstakes centers,” Hawkins wrote in a memo to county officials.

Under the current UDO, they are classified as “amusement centers,” which are not subject to any special standards.

“Electronic gaming operations are different in nature from a typical amusement center or video-game arcade in that the clientele is adult-only and cash payouts are common,” Hawkins additionally noted.

The proposed standards would call for separation requirements from residential zoning districts, churches and schools, certain access and visibility requirements, limits on hours of operation and parking specifications.

At past meetings of the board, some Lincoln County residents have spoken against Internet sweepstakes centers cropping up around the area during public comments. Those interested will have a chance to do so again tonight, as a public hearing will be conducted on the proposed regulations.

Other items on tonight’s agenda include:

  • A public hearing will be conducted for an incentive grant agreement regarding an existing industry’s plans for an equipment expansion. A hearing will also be conducted for an incentive grant agreement extension.
  • Commissioners will consider awarding $187,850 to Carolina Quality Construction for the replacement of water meters.
  • Commissioners will look at awarding $256,517 to Dellinger, Inc. for the replacement of aging equipment in the Denver Booster Pump Station.
  • Commissioners will consider awarding $510,000 to Hickory Construction Company for the closure of the Forney Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Commissioners will consider adopting a resolution that would amend the industrial incentives grant policy for the county, in hopes of improving its ability to recruit larger companies. Commissioners previously tabled this item to allow the LEDA board time to look over the resolution.
  • Commissioners will consider a resolution to accept the annual tax settlement with the county’s tax administrator.
  • Public hearings for two conditional-use permit requests will be conducted, one for the operation of a campground on Zion Hill Road in North Brook Township and another to construct a warehouse, driveways and parking areas for building-material sales on N.C. 16 Business in Catawba Springs Township.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Citizens Center and is open to the public.

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