NORTH AUGUSTA - Less than 24 hours after the city council passed a zoning map restricting the location of video poker businesses, owners of the gambling machines were told Tuesday to unplug them or pay the price.
Five businesses were notified by city officials that they are in violation of the new C-5 commercial ordinance for video gambling.
"We gave them a letter and gave them an explanation that the video poker machines are in violation of the zoning ordinance," said Richard Harmon, the city's director of code enforcement.
According to Mr. Harmon, the businesses cited were:
Mr. Harmon said the owners are required by law to immediately stop operating the machines or potentially face a fine of not more than $500 and/or 30 days in jail for each day the violation continues.
"I could come back in 10 minutes, I can come back the next day, or a police officer could come in and hand them a summons," Mr. Harmon said.
The new C-5 area includes a 300-acre area along U.S. Highway 1, extending from the old Kmart building to the Hippodrome, and a section of Atomic Road extending from Martintown Road to the Breckenridge Villas apartments.
Originally the area was limited to the U.S. Highway 1 tract, but the city council voted before third and final reading of the zoning map in hopes of discouraging litigation from video poker business owners.
The expansion was sealed by a 4-2 vote Monday, but some owners still plan to fight the zoning restriction.
"We're going to definitely appeal it; we're going to fight it," said Mr. Kenrick, owner of the Gas Plus, who was still operating his machines late Tuesday.
"I think they're wrong on how they're doing it," he said. "They just zoned an area and it's too bad if you aren't in that area."