ZONING Westgate Plaza arcade is approved

The businessmen opened a video game room in Boardman last month.
AUSTINTOWN -- The township board of zoning appeals unanimously approved a conditional use permit Thursday for a skill-based video game arcade in the Westgate Plaza.
Tony Bruno and Don Fleck plan to open a Treasure Island arcade in the plaza at Mahoning Avenue and Raccoon Road.
The board's vote came at the conclusion of a public hearing on the request. No one who attended the hearing spoke against the plan.
Michael P. Kurilla Jr., township zoning inspector, said he received a letter from a Carnegie Avenue resident who was opposed to the arcade.
The resident wrote in her letter that the games are a form of gambling and that she believes the Westgate Plaza should remain a place of "family-friendly" businesses.
Bruno and Fleck opened Treasure Island on Youngstown-Poland Road in Boardman last month and their plan for the Westgate Plaza mirrors that operation.
Bruno said there will be 16 machines, and an employee will be on the premises during operating hours.
Games of skill
Under Ohio law, games of chance that give payouts to winners are illegal, but it's legal to reward winners for games of skill.
An arcade room is a conditionally permitted use in a business district, according to the township's zoning code. The Westgate Plaza is within a business district.
Like in the Boardman location, the Austintown arcade will have video games that reward winners with cash and prizes, such as gift certificates to area businesses. Whether a winner receives a gift certificate or a check for their winnings will depend on the amount. Larger rewards will paid by check.
The games will be for people 21 and older.
The businessmen had inquired about starting another game room in Girard, although a precise location hadn't been identified. They withdrew those plans when some city officials objected.

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