Groves to take second look at game room ordinance

Published 12:18 am Sunday, November 27, 2022

GROVES — Leaders in Groves are researching the possibility of requiring specific use permits for new game rooms wanting to set up shop in the city.

Groves City Manager D.E. Sosa believes an amendment to the current ordinance requiring a specific use permit would be fair to residents.

“Because I don’t think anybody’s fooling anybody,” Sosa said during a recent council meeting. “These are basically gaming houses, and even though they are still, for whatever reason, legal, I think the city council has a right to require them to have a specific use permit. We have a right to get homeowners and property owners within 200 feet the ability to voice their opinion on the location of these particular game rooms.”

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Groves officials have received calls from people looking to place a game room at the site of a former gas station/convenience store at 39th Street and Main Avenue and another one in the 5200 block of 39th Street.

The good news, Sosa said, is these two buildings would have to be brought up to code and standards by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is expensive.

His thought is anyone wanting to put in a game room, which is technically legal, should be required to have a specific use permit.

A specific use permit allows residents and businesses within a certain radius of the property the ability to voice any concerns during a public hearing.

Currently there is only one operating game room in the city. It is located near West End Hardware on Twin City Highway.

Councilman Rob Vensel asked if there were many calls for service at the current game room on Twin City Highway ‑ the answer being no.

The requirement, if approved, would not apply to businesses such as stores that have machines. And the current game room would be grandfathered in.

City attorney Brandon Monk said there is the possibility to require the game room owner to renew their permit annually if council chooses to do so.

Groves adopted their current game room ordinance in 2019, updating the verbiage from the outdated one referring to video games to rooms where patrons use 8-liners, which are strictly for amusement purposes with noncash merchandise prizes.