Murfreesboro will allow Internet cafes

Published 10:53 am Friday, June 29, 2012

MURFREESBORO – Internet cafes will now be allowed within the town limits here, but they will be regulated.

On Tuesday, the Murfreesboro Town Council voted upon regulations set for the gaming establishments as well as lifted the moratorium regarding Internet cafes.

The businesses will be allowed by way of a conditional use permit, which means a public hearing will be required and each applicant will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

According to the ordinance, Internet cafes will be allowed to operate from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. six days a week, with the exception of Sunday.

A minimum fee of $3,000 a year and $1,000 per machine, computer or terminal must be paid to the town.

The establishment must be a minimum of 1,000 linear feet from any building used as a dwelling. The same distance is required from any church, synagogue, or temple and associated uses including cemeteries, congregate care facility, a public or private daycare center, non-profit clubs, or any public or private school as well as any other electronic gaming establishment.

The business must provide off street parking for its patrons.

Windows must be unobstructed for view from the outside as a security issue for the Police Department.

During the public hearing for the regulations, Richard Hammel, who lives in a neighborhood behind the Lowes Shopping Center, said he didn’t anticipate any noise problems coming from that area if an Internet Cafe was place there.

“The garbage truck is the only thing that ever makes any noise,” Hammel said. “Some people fussed (if we had a cafe there), well it’s going to cause noise problems, but there have never been any noise problems behind that building, that building blocks (the noise).”

Hammel said the Lowes Plaza is a “lovely area” with ample parking that needs businesses in it.

Robert Joyner questioned if anyone on the Council had visited an Internet Cafe.

Councilman Hal Thomas said he has and noted the businesses were legitimate in North Carolina.

“Just like any other business the state of North Carolina has said it is a permissible operation,” Thomas said. “There are several towns around here and in North Carolina that are operating them.”

He referred to the fees in the Murfreesboro ordinance that the establishments would have to pay the town.

“Governor Perdue came out and said we need to come up with some regulations to regulate because the court has said they’re legal,” he said.

Thomas said he did research on the businesses and the regulations.

“It just any other business,” he said. “Not everybody is going to want to go there, but they have no know negative impact on the outside community. And there are people of all size, shapes, colors and religions that go to them.”