City code no fun for Fun World

Friday, April 23, 2010
Fun World, a new business on the public square, might be hampered by a city ordinance.

A new business on Lewisburg's public square has been advised of a city restriction after the businessman invested money in his business plan.

A sign at the south side of the square on the door of Fun World tells the story: "The City of Lewisburg has advised us that if you are under 15 years of age you cannot enter the arcade without written consent of a parent of guardian, per city manager.

Thank you for your support."

Business owner Michael Farrar describes it as a "hindrance" to his business.

"I made an investment in the town and, here, after that, someone comes to you after you've done it," Farrar said.

City Manager Eddie Fuller said Ordinance 9-512 is "essentially for pool halls," and admitted he did not know how well it could be enforced. Fuller said the game room could keep copies of parental permission on file for regular patrons. Lewisburg Codes Officer Greg Lowe said Fuller gave him a copy of the ordinance "a few weeks ago" and he passed it on to Farrar. Lowe did clarify that the ordinance applies specifically to game rooms, where games are the primary source of income, and not to places like Wal-Mart and the bowling alley where there are just a few games.

Farrar, who is also a bail bondsman and owner of the Corner Café on the square, has consulted with an attorney and is weighing his options._

"Now, I can't see anybody wanting to make an investment here," said Farrar, turning to his question about whether Lewisburg leaders want the town to prosper.

"If they want more business here they're going to have to be more in line with the way other towns handle codes," he said. "I think the Council needs to review all the codes and make them in line with other communities that have grown.

"If they want more industry here, they better find more entertainment and retail," he continued. "People won't come here if they don't have something for their family to do."

The ordinance specifies that the city manager, his designee, or the police, is responsible for enforcement. Farrar is friendly with the police and told Lowe the police would be welcome to drive by and check on his business any time.

If enforced, the penalties for violation can be severe, up to $500 for each occurrence.

The relevant ordinances are as follows:

9-512. Minors. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly permit any person under the age of 15 years to play or operate a game in a game room without first obtaining the written consent of a parent, guardian or other person having legal control of such person. (1985 Code, § 5-412)

9-516. Penalty. In addition to revocation of a permit, the city manager may cause a warrant to be issued for violation of any provision of this chapter and the city court may assess a penalty of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each violation. Each day a violation occurs shall be considered a separate violation. (1985 Code, § 5-416)