The Levelland Planning and Zoning Commission met for a brief meeting Tuesday night.
The board held a public hearing to consider an amendment to the Zoning code to authorize the use of game rooms and amusement machines as a permitted use in the industrial zones within the City of Levelland. Bill Palmer spoke during the public hearing inquiring on the definition of a game room. He questions if it includes pool halls or domino halls and etc. He asked why their are different rules for required distances for alcohol establishments than their is for gaming establishments from churches, schools or healthcare facilities. He said “we have to know what the definition of a game room is.” He also questioned why windows could not be covered. He said we don’t need something to cripple renting these vacant buildings in town. City Manager Erik Rejino, noted that the only thing this public hearing was for is zoning, not the rules pertaining to game rooms which has already been approved by the city council and is out of the zoning boards purview.
The City Manager gave a presentation to the board pertaining to game room and amusement machines which is defined as any electronic device made and adapted for entertainment purposes with prizes valued at less than $5. A game room is defined as any building housing two or more amusement machines. Current regulations include a permitting process established by the City Council, an annual license fee of $500 per establishment, and verifying a tax permit issued by the state comptrollers office, transparent uncovered windows, hours of operation restricted by city ordinance, distance to a church, school, and hospital within 300′ of property line to property line and a parking standard of 1 space per two machines required by city ordinance. He noted that the distance regulation is more stringent than the alcohol law, which he noted the alcohol standard is set by state law and the city council could not amend. Staff is recommending that the game rooms be limited to the industrial areas of Levelland. He noted the two game rooms currently located in Levelland would be grandfathered in. He said the recommendation is so the city can protect the health and safety of the public.
The board unanimously approved recommending the change to the Levelland City Council. The city manager noted that the requirements for game rooms established by the city council are meant to protect the safety of the public.