Columbus approves zoning amendments for recreational uses

Published 10:00 pm Friday, May 5, 2017

Town to discuss adult establishments at its May meeting

COLUMBUS – The Town of Columbus has made amendments to its zoning ordinance mainly pertaining to being more specific regarding recreational uses, but is also working on amendments to adult establishment uses.

Columbus Town Council met April 27 and approved amendments to its zoning ordinance specifying recreational uses, with most being allowed in the town’s highway commercial district.

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The change on recreational uses removed the entry titled “Private recreational facilities-profit” and added individual uses of arcade, skating rink, bowling alley, indoor shooting range, indoor pool, movie theater and outdoor recreational facilities. All of the added uses will be allowed in the highway commercial district but movie theaters will also be allowed in the central business district. Another amendment was make for public or private non-profit recreational (parks, playgrounds, etc.) to allow those as a permitted use in the central business district.

Columbus Manager Tim Barth said that was done because two of the town’s major parks (Stearns and Veterans Park) are already in the central business district and this will bring those into compliance.

Columbus held a public hearing prior to amending the ordinance with no residents speaking.

The town plans to discuss adult establishments during its May meeting. Barth said adult establishments are much more complex than could be ironed out at the April meeting so he recommended council discuss that at its May 18 meeting.

The Columbus Planning Board met April 10 and unanimously approved the changes council approved last week as well as changes to the adult establishment uses. The planning board is recommending the town edit the definition of adult establishments to match the definition given in Article 26A of the North Carolina General Statutes, including for adult book stores, adult establishment, adult live entertainment, adult live entertainment business, adult motion picture theater, adult mini motion picture theater and massage.

The planning board is also recommending council adopt restrictions for adult establishments, including that they not be permitted within 750 feet from a residential building or residentially zone property, within 1,000 feet from where an adult oriented building is located, within 1,500 feet from a church, synagogue or other house of worship, within 1,500 feet of a public or private school or day care, within 1,500 feet of a public playground, public swimming pool or public park or within 1,500 feet from an on-premise ABC license.

Other restrictions the planning board recommended includes that an adult oriented business shall not exceed 3,000 square feet and all business-related activity be conducted in a building and except for an adult motel, no adult business may have sleeping quarters.

Adult establishments are recommended by the planning board to only be a permitted use in the R-1 district of Columbus.

Zoned local governments must allow uses such as adult establishments somewhere in the zoning district by state statute.

Columbus Town Council plans to discuss the changes for adult establishments during its Thursday, May 18 meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.