Ordinance variance gains early approval
Henderson planners said a common-sense adjustment is warranted for rules governing Internet sweepstakes cafés, allowing them to move to areas near schools if there are no child students involved.
The Henderson Planning Board gave its recommendation on Monday to the Henderson City Council to allow the electronic gaming operations, also called sweepstakes businesses and Internet cafés, to move near professional training schools that cater only to adult learners.
Making the request for the change was state Rep. Jim Crawford Jr., owner of Crawprop LLC and Crossroads Shopping Center.
Henderson Zoning Administrator Sherry Moss said the restrictions against the gambling-style gaming operations would remain in place in all instances of schools with child-age students.
“The whole school category would still be there,” Moss said. “This would only apply (as an exception) to vocational training schools for adults.”
Crawford said he found it ironic that he would like to move a tenant gaming operation, Diamond Sweepstakes, to within 750 feet of an adult school at Crossroads, but it is actually farther away from its spot next to a tenant vocational barber school.
In his application documents, he said the current ordinance makes unnecessary restrictions in this case.
“This is an adult school, so it would not effect any children in a pre-K through grade 12 situation,” Crawford said. “I don’t think this will harm anyone.”
Crossroads has multiple adult schools and Internet gaming businesses at Crossroads. Crawford cited an undue hardship. He added that all the businesses in question are tenants of his.
Also at Crossroads is the Employment Security Commission’s job training facility and Henderson Business Center, which is a sweepstakes gaming operation.
Moss said with the new ordinance change if approved, the gaming operations would be able to move as long as they followed other ordinance restrictions, such as not locating to within 750 feet of each other and not moving to within 750 feet of a church or school for children.
Moss clarified that schools and churches are not restricted from where they move in relation to sweepstakes gaming operations, so they are sometimes found near sweepstakes gaming businesses.
The ordinance only applies when it is the gaming operations that are moving, she said.
The planning board recommendation will be considered at a future regular meeting of the council.