Groves City Council makes specific use permit decision on 1 game room; schedules public hearing for 2 more

Published 7:50 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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GROVES — A Groves game room owner has a positive opinion on how city leaders changed the process to operate his type of business.

The owner of Bonus Room game room attended Monday night’s meeting when councilmembers approved an ordinance granting him a specific use for game room and gaming machines at 5130 Twin City Highway.

“It was very fair. It was thorough,” the business owner, Stephen Marcantel, said. “I thought the city did a good job. At first I didn’t know what to expect, but I think it’s a fair process. I think it’ll weed out people that shouldn’t be there.”

Audience members and city staff listen to Groves City Council Monday. (Mary Meaux/The News)

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The business has been open approximately six years and was the first gaming room to operate in the city. Late last year the Groves City Council decided to revisit the ordinance and require specific use permits for game rooms.

A specific use permit is a zoning tool used by the city to place constraints on certain sites.

The topic has been the source of discussion over a number of council meetings.

City leaders set a date of June 19 for a joint public hearing for specific use permits for gaming machines and game rooms at 2600 Main Avenue and 2610 Main Avenue.

Council has also been discussing fees associated with the game rooms and machines. While not set in stone, the council is looking to up its application fee/renewal fee for each establishment from $1,000 to $1,500 and place a $1,500 fee per gaming machine.

The renewal fees would be paid annually.

Ward 3 Councilman Rob Vensel said game room talks have taken a lot of time to go over and is not something city leaders did quickly.

Vensel said they have had a game room owner speak to council in favor of the establishments as well as a person who was against the issue.

“We took it all into account, and I felt like the fees are comparable to other surrounding cities,” Vensel said.