City tables requests for gaming permits

By: By Bob Shiles -

LUMBERTON — Two attempts to bring electronic gaming to Lumberton were stalled Wednesday.

City Council members, meeting as the Council Policy Committee, tabled two conditional-use permit applications that if approved would allow skilled gaming machines to operate in two arcades in the city. Skilled gaming machines are a replacement to the sweepstakes machines that are illegal in North Carolina.

The decision to table action on the applications was announced after council members met behind closed doors for about 30 minutes. City Attorney Holt Moore announced the decision, saying that “more research” is needed to determine how the operation of centers offering skilled gaming should be handled.

After the meeting, Moore confirmed that the council’s reluctance to handle the applications is partly a result of a lawsuit before the N.C. Court of Appeals that could determine the legality of skilled gaming.

Requesting the conditional-use permits were Joe French, of Charlotte, who wants to operate a skilled game arcade at 1702 W. Fifth St.; and PMP Properties LLC, which wants to operate a skilled-base online gaming business with complimentary online work stations for email, bill paying and internet research, at 3487 Lackey St.

None of the council members commented on their decision to table review and action on the two applications.

Also on Wednesday, council members declared two local structures unsafe and approved their demolition and removal. Ruled unsafe were a building at 2310 Marshall St. and a storage facility at 3605 N. Walnut St.

In other business on Wednesday, the council:

— Approved a request from Public Works Director Rob Armstrong to pursue funding of an Asset Inventory Assessment. The assessment will be a mapping of the city’s water system, Armstrong said.

— Approved Armstrong’s request for a public hearing on the Rosewood Mobile Home Park Community Development Block Grant Project. The park has 125 home sites. Eighty-six of those sites have failing on-site septic systems, according to Armstrong.

“This is an opportunity for us to get sewer expanded,” he said.

— Approved a request from the Lumberton Police Department to apply for the 2017 Edward Byrne JAG Grant. The $34,953 would be used to buy equipment and pay for overtime, and training.

— Approved $1,900 of Community Revitalization Funds to be used by the Tanglewood Elementary School PTA for playground improvements.

— Approved $500 of Community Revitalization Funds for Community Watch activities in Precinct 4.

— Approved $500 of Community Revitalization Funds to be used by Pentecostal Holy Church for an anniversary celebration.

— Approved $1,250 of Community Revitalization Funds for a Hurricane Matthew celebration to be held Oct. 8 on the downtown plaza.

Holt Moore Moore

By Bob Shiles

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.