Last updated: June 01. 2013 5:46AM - 170 Views
Nathan Ham
Staff Writer

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Ashe County Commissioners voted Monday to approve a nine month moratorium on electronic gaming machines in the county.

These machines, better known as “Sweepstakes Machines” have been a controversial topic throughout the state.

County Planning Director Zach Edwardson spoke at the meeting, and detailed what exactly the nine-month moratorium would do. With the commissioners’ approval, the planning board would then have nine months to thoroughly review the issue of sweepstakes machines and either create or amend an existing regulation. The commissioners would vote on that proposal after the nine-month review has concluded.

The vote passed 4-1 with Commissioner Gerald Price opposing the moratorium.

A previous ordinance passed in July that created a permitting process for electronic gaming machines inside county borders, and imposes 1,000-foot setbacks that prohibit gaming machines within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, churches, schools, and other gaming machines.

In other business, the commissioners approved several board appointments. All votes were unanimous in approving new board members for the Airport Advisory Board, Volunteer Advisory Board, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Appalachian Regional Library Board, Ashe County Public Library Board, Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority and the West Jefferson Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) Board.

Commissioners approved the disbanding of the Ashe County Communications Advisory Board in a unanimous vote.

“One of the reasons the board disbanded the communications board is that most of the work is done through the Firemen’s Association communication department,” said Commission Chairwoman Judy Poe.

County Manager Pat Mitchell also spoke briefly about an upcoming presentation that will be made to the North Carolina Department of Commerce promoting the current industrial space available at the Gates Tube Plant (former Hanes/Leviton building) in Jefferson that will be vacated soon, as well as the former Tigra USA building located near GE Aviation in West Jefferson.

Youth Conservation Day

Discussion took place during the business meeting about allowing guns to be taken into Ashe County Park as part of Youth Conservation Day, an event supported yearly by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Currently, guns are banned from all parks, but the commissioners could approve a one-day shooting event at the park.

Young children will learn gun safety, and the proper way to carry and shoot firearms during the day with supervising adults present.

Road abandonment

Commissioners approved the abandonment of Crescent Lane in West Jefferson, the part of the road that continues past CVS Pharmacy. The proposal passed unanimously.

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