FunWorld OK'd by city

Friday, February 19, 2010
In City Hall discussing a new business are, from left, Zoning Appeals Board member Jackie Aldridge, property owner Ron Maggi, and Michael Farrar, proprietor of the Corner Cafe who plans to open FunWorld, a game room on the south side of Lewisburg's public square.

Lewisburg's Board of Zoning Appeals has decided that FunWorld, a game room for young people, is a suitable business for the commercial zone on Lewisburg's public square.

FunWorld is to be just up hill from Parson's Pharmacy in a building remembered by longtime residents as Ray's Shoe Store. Michael Farrar, owner of the Corner Cafe and Farrar's Bonding Co., said he wanted a place for his daughter, Alexis.

"They're not seeking a zoning change," BZA Chairman John Boyette said and City Codes Officer Greg Lowe explained the zoning code lists several kinds of businesses that are allowed in the downtown zone if the BZA votes to permit it.

Farrar plans to have three TV screens for Wii- and Gamebox-brand entertainment on the ground floor of the building he'll be renting from Ron Maggi and his wife, Rita.

The building has two stories and Farrar plans to have a pool table on the second floor where there will be an age limit, the businessman told the board.

That prompted comments from panelists recalling that in their youth they enjoyed the game, but realized they were not as talented as others. Still, it's been known that a former member of the City Council has hosted pool shooters at his basement table.

The prospect of an arcade on the square with youngsters around nearby businesses led Farrar to poll proprietors and he reported no objections.

Farrar also consulted Police Chief Chuck Forbis about how game room managers wouldn't be able to control youngsters' behavior beyond that business. Farrar reported Forbis replied that's the responsibility of the police.

BZA member Tom Sumners noted that the public square has been a gathering place for county youth. Farrar introduced Sonny Nunn, a retired man who is to manage the business.

One of the house rules requires an adult upstairs at the pool tables if players are age 13 to 18, Nunn noted.

"I don't know if you could enforce that," Boyette said, but others on the panel agreed that Farrar had a business plan that, with proper execution, would work.

Furthermore, the request for approval of the business activity did seem to fit the classification in the zoning code. The voice vote to approve the request was unanimous.