Tarboro council rejects Internet cafe request


Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

TARBORO — The Tarboro Town Council denied a man’s request to open an Internet cafe during a public hearing on Monday during its monthly meeting.

The council voted 8-1 against the request with Councilwoman Sabrina Bynum casting the lone vote in favor of the request. 

“I see no problems with them,” Bynum said. “It’s just like bingo, and people play them in a confined area. From what I know, I never heard of any problems associated with them.”

The public hearing was held to consider removing the restriction of distance in residential districts for Internet cafes in zone B2. The proposed admendment to the Unified Development Ordinance would allow Internet cafes to be in B2 and B3 zoning districts without restricting the distance to residential districts.

The town council ordains any structure in which an Internet cafe is operating shall be separated by a distance of at least 500 feet from any residential zoning district.

Longtime resident Steven Cherry made the unsuccessful request for the Internet cafe. He said the property that he found to open one at the Tarboro Shopping Center met all the requirements other than for residential distance. 

He added the shopping center had six available spaces. Cherry was hoping to convince the council that the Internet cafe would be a benefit to the town. Cherry said the people who go to the Internet cafes usually are retired older people, particularly women, and that gives them something to do because there are few entertainment options in the town.

Cherry said people go to the service station to buy lottery tickets, which is gambling, and raffle tickets are sold at local high school football games, which can be viewed as a sort of gambling. Cherry also pointed to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed individual states to decide sports gambling in the United States outside of Nevada as a sign of how times are changing.

“You can look at it on the bad side as a gambling facility, but it’s also going to bring more people into the town and could bring potential business,” Cherry said. “It’s a lot of money going through, but it’s a lot of money that can be made. It also can create jobs for people in the the town. As far as the crime rate, I haven’t yet turned on my TV and seen somebody murdered from going to an Internet cafe.”