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M’boro bans Internet cafes

MURFREESBORO — Following suit like other municipalities and counties in the state, the Murfreesboro Town Council has moved to keep Internet cafes out of the city limits.

On Tuesday, council members voted to place a moratorium on Internet cafes until the North Carolina General Assembly decides how to regulate them.

Previously, the council had asked Town Attorney Buddy Jones to research Internet cafes.

“My understanding is that the General Assembly will take this up in the short session,” said Jones in Tuesday’s meeting during his report to council.

Jones added that his recommendation was to adopt a moratorium.

“Internet cafes are not a permitted activity in the town of Murfreesboro; Internet cafes as a credible business are not permitted in Murfreesboro,” said Interim Town Administrator Hugh Montgomery. “We’ve turned down applicants because it is not a permitted activity as a credible business by our code of ordinances. …It’s not a permitted use of buildings in our town.”

Montgomery added a moratorium would end the issue until the General Assembly addressed Internet cafes.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe said there was a possibility that a person wanting to start an Internet cafe could not represent it as a primary business.

“There’s all these loopholes if you do not put forth a moratorium,” he said.

The council approved a motion to adopt a moratorium on Internet cafes.

Those participating at sweepstakes cafes purchase time on computers and win credits in the online sweepstakes that are then transferred back into cash. Prizes are paid to winners based on predetermined sweepstakes systems.

The Northampton County Board of Commissioners adopted a moratorium earlier this month.