South Boston Town Council at its 7 p.m. Monday meeting is slated to consider a change in the town’s code to allow skill gaming machines in all four of the town’s business districts, directly following a public hearing on the subject.
Currently, the town’s code allows for electronic games of skill to be operated by special use permit only in B-2 (general business) and B-4 (downtown business) districts.
Council will meet in the Washington Coleman Community Center at 1927 Jeffress Blvd. Council normally holds its business meetings the second Monday of each month, but this month’s meeting was moved up a week because of the Columbus Day holiday.
The proposed amendment to the town code, zoning chapter 114, defines skill games to reflect state law. The amendment also states “no operator shall locate more than eight skill games at any Virginia Alcohol and Safety retail licensed establishment.” Virginia Senate Bill 971 declared “mechanical games” illegal, but Gov. Ralph Northam’s amendment delayed that action for one year. During that one-year timeframe, until June 30, skill games will be legal.
Also on the meeting agenda is a proposed amendment to the town’s 2020-2021 fee and tax list to charge a $200 annual license fee for each skill game machine. The town of South Boston will receive 12% of the profits for each machine. South Boston town manager Tom Raab shared with council at a Sept. 28 work session that the town has collected $1,440 in revenue from the 10 operable skill gaming machines in town in the past month, whereas Halifax County has collected about $6,700 from 47 machines.
South Boston Mayor Ed Owens commented in an Aug. 27 town council work session that skill games had popped up in many businesses in areas surrounding South Boston, and they are profitable.
“They’re in every convenience store outside of town, and here’s an opportunity for a revenue stream for at least eight to nine months,” Owens said.
At Monday’s meeting, council also will consider a resolution of support for the town of South Boston to apply for VDOT Smart Scale funding for two intersection improvement/ roundabout projects.
The first project proposes replacing the stop-controlled intersection of U.S. Highway 501 at Wilborn Avenue/ Broad Street and Crescent Drive with a single-lane roundabout.
The second project proposes replacing the stop-controlled intersection of 501 at Main Street/Broad Street and Wall Street and Factory Street with a single-lane roundabout, where Raab said many accidents have occurred. Both intersection improvement projects reflect the conversion of Main Street and Broad Street from one-way roadways to two-way roadways.
The resolution of support also states that the town of South Boston will contribute $250,000 for each roundabout, for a total of $500,000 in local funding toward the projects. Raab told town council in a Sept. 28 work session that he recommended contributing local funding toward the projects because of the possibility that the contribution would speed up the process of securing Smart Scale funding and starting on the projects.
Other items on the meeting agenda are an appointment to the Halifax County South Boston Transportation Safety Committee, and a citizen comment period.