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Council Antes Up On Ordinance

POSTED March 5, 2013 9:14 p.m.

With only one item on its public hearing agenda, the Oakdale City Council modified a zoning ordinance for card room operations to facilitate an anticipated location change by Mike’s Card Room currently located on North Yosemite Avenue.

Mike Whitely, owner of the card room, has notified the city he would like to move and expand his business, keeping it in Oakdale.

The current zoning ordinance does not recognize card rooms as permitted or prohibited in any zones of the city. The existing card room was in business prior to the adoption of the current zoning ordinance and was allowed to operate on a conditional use permit.

Associate Planner David Wage presented the changes to Chapter 8 of the municipal code to allow card rooms in zoned commercial areas of the city.

“The proposed amendment would allow Mr. Whitely to relocate to a new location in town, expand his business and remain competitive with other card rooms in the area,” said Wage. “If the amendment to the card room ordinance is approved the applicant has indicated that he will apply for a conditional use permit to relocate.”

Part of the ordinance restricted the facility from being 200 feet from a residence. Other changes included increasing the number of tables allowed from 14 to 20, renewing employee permits from every one year to two years, and increasing the maximum bet and raise amount to “no limit.”

Councilman Farrell Jackson had some questions on where the information for the changes was obtained.

Police Chief Lester Jenkins said a survey was done of card room ordinances of a 50-mile radius of the city and was using data in other jurisdictions. Jenkins also added that with a diminished administrative staff in his department, having the employee checks modified to every two years would help alleviate some of the workload when it comes to all the permit checks the department is required to perform.

Jenkins had no objection to the ordinance change.

Wage also added that “no limit” is the standard for Texas Hold ‘Em games and would allow Whitely to be more competitive.

Whitely addressed the council and notified them that his current lease expires next year and he wanted to expand to a larger facility.

Resident Larrell Fortuner and card room patron told the council that he recently started playing at the card room and there was no risk to the city from such a facility.

“It’s not a cut-throat atmosphere,” said Fortuner. “The owners are family oriented. There’s no trouble there. It’s good people.”

The council unanimously passed the ordinance change.

After the vote, Whitely said he was currently working with proprietors to move to the Cost Less Shopping Center.

Whitely said he learned that since he has shown interest in moving to that location, the center received inquiries from restaurant operators to move a business into the location also.

“Poker players got to eat,” quipped Whitely.

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