Last month, the Danville Planning Commission postponed decisions on eleven special use permits for commercial indoor recreation to allow convenience stores to operate gaming machines, due to lack of information.

During this month’s meeting, the planning commission again voted to postpone the decisions for fourteen special use permits for the same reason.

They did, however, approve the special use permit for Pilot truck stop on Riverpoint Drive to allow commercial indoor recreation. They approved the use of the games during its hours of operation, which are 24 hours, and the commission allowed for four machines.

For some time, “skill” gaming machines have been operating in these stores, allowing for customers to play these games for a monetary prize.

According to Kenneth Gillie, director of planning for Danville, more than thirty businesses were sent a notice that they would have to obtain a special use permit to use the games in question. In the meantime, they were to stop using the games. The majority of these businesses were convenience stores, but notices were also sent to facilities that only included the gaming machines.

Last month, Gillie stated that there were concerns over parking and safety of customers and surrounding properties.

At their last meeting, Gillie noted that certificates of occupancy were needed for several of the businesses to determine how many machines a business can have and to determine how many parking spots were needed.

While some businesses did not return to this month’s meeting with a certificate of occupancy, those that did have them were under M-Mercantile use for convenience stores. After meetings with the Inspection Division of Community Development and the City of Danville Fire Department, it was determined that facilities using the machines would be listed as B-Business Group due to the change in use of the building.

This business group listing requires public restrooms, handicapped accessible routes and parking spaces, exit lights, and fire extinguishers, as well as other life safety items.

Some of these items, such as public restrooms, are not required under M-Mercantile use.

The facilities with M-Mercantile types of certificates of occupancy would need to be re-inspected to determine compliance with the change in use of the building.

Pilot was ultimately approved due to its adequate parking available and the safety requirements already met. The store has an A-2 Assembly/Merchant Certificate of Occupancy, which requires more safety items than B-Business Group and did not require re-inspection.

For more on this story, see the Oct. 9 edition of the Chatham Star-Tribune.

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