County considers fee for video games

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners will consider on Monday amending a zoning ordinance that applies to Internet/video-skill games to require operators to obtain a conditional-use permit and pay an annual fee on each machine.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the County Administration Building, located at 701 N. Elm St. in Lumberton. A Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., the commissioners’ normal meeting time. After the meeting, the board will hold a workshop on County Manager Ricky Harris’ proposed fiscal year 2018-19 budget.

The meetingy was to take place on June 4 but was postponed after the death of County Attorney Patrick Pait, who died June 3 in a traffic accident in Fayetteville. Assistant County Attorney Michael McDonald will assume Pait’s duties at the meeting.

The Robesonian will provide live stream coverage of the meeting on Facebook.

The gaming amendment applies to Section 17.3 of the Robeson County Zoning Ordinance and reads in part, “Current businesses that are operating any of the following have 180 days to comply with the Robeson County zoning ordinance in obtaining a conditional-use permit and a $300.00 fee will be assessed to each machine annually. New businesses proposing to operate any one of the following will be required to obtain a conditional-use permit prior to beginning operation. A $300.00 fee is assessed to each machine annually.”

The amendment will be the subject of one of four public hearings scheduled for Monday’s meeting. In the other public hearings:

— Corey Glover, of the Wisharts Township, is requesting that a 0.71-acre tract be rezoned from Residential Agricultural District to a Neighborhood Commercial District to allow for the establishment of a neighborhood grill.

— Jerome S. Williams, of the Gaddys Township, is requesting a conditional-use permit to allow the establishment of a family cemetery on a 2.23-acre tract in a Residential Agricultural District.

— Prospect Road Maxton Verizon, of Smiths Township, is requesting a conditional-use permit to allow for the placement of a 259-foot-tall telecommunication tower on .22 acres of a 15.76-acre tract in a Residential Agricultural District.

The commissioners also will consider a lease agreement between the city of Lumberton and Robeson County for a memorial park. The planned 1.1-acre park would be built on a lot near the traffic circle at East Elizabethtown Road and North Water Street, where the Robeson County Board of Elections once was located. It would be used for celebrations on Memorial Day and Veterans Day and include monuments honoring each branch of America’s uniformed services.

Harris’ proposed budget would keep the tax rate at 77 cents for every $100 of property. The major sticking point is a request from the Public Schools of Robeson County for more than $17 million in additional funding.

By T.C. Hunter

Managing editor

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at