During Thursday night's meeting, Danville City Council unanimously denied a special use permit allowing for commercial indoor recreation at Pilot Flying J on U.S. 58 for skill games with the opportunity to earn monetary prizes.

The request was filed by Queen of Virginia Skill and Entertainment on behalf of the store.

More than thirty businesses were sent a notice in July that stated 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.

City planning staff raised concerns over adequate parking, safety of customers and surrounding properties.

Kenneth Gillie, community development director, declared the store fit to have the special use permit, due to its adequate parking facilities and safety items under their certificate of occupancy.

The Planning Commission recommended the approval of the special use permit on Oct. 7.

However, city council was not satisfied with the measures being taken to ensure that those under 18 could not access the machines. With the facility’s machines being towards the back of the store near the restrooms, council members were not convinced they could be monitored by employees.

“By the way you have this set up here at Pilot, there’s no way you can stop young people from getting on this machine,” Mayor Alonzo Jones said.

Councilman Dr. Gary Miller also raised the question of increased security with the addition of these games in the store, with money changing hands.

“That makes ripe targets for robbery,” Miller said.

Prior to their denial of the request, councilman Larry Campbell made a motion to table the matter, but that motion failed in a 5-4 vote.

In other business, nearly three months after their tabled the decision about a fixed-based operator (FBO), Danville City Council approved a joint proposal between General Aviation and Averett University to be manage Danville Regional Airport.

“Tonight, this is heading in the right direction,” Vice Mayor Lee Vogler said. “What we have is great local business who has wonderful services for decades coming together with great local institution which has been a tremendous asset for the city and this region for decades coming together in a unique partnership.”

The agreement includes an initial term of the agreement with General Aviation, which will end on June 30, 2021. On July 1, 2021, Averett University and the city of Danville will hold the agreement, which will last until Dec. 31, 2024.

The FBO should have the option to renew this agreement for an additional three periods of five years each.

The lease fee for rental facilities will be $1,500 per month, and the fuel flow fee will be $.08 per gallon.

During their meeting on Aug. 20, city council voted to table the decision to approve Fly High Inc as FBO, due to the fact that city council didn’t see proposal presentations.

After presentations to city council were made, they made a recommendation to execute a lease agreement with General Aviation and Averett.

“We are delighted,” Charles Harris, executive vice president of Averett University, said. “We thank you. We know this has been a long journey.”

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