The applicant, Ma Hollins, proposes up to six (6) skill game machines. Ma Hollins had six (6) skill game machines approved by Virginia ABC up until June 30, 2021. The following explains the timeline of events leading up to now:
- The City sent Ma Hollins a zoning violation letter for operating skill games without a Special Use Permit.
- Ma Hollins appealed the notice of violation to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
- The BZA, at their meeting on April 21, 2022, asked if Ma Hollins could apply for a Special Use Permit for commercial recreation. I agreed to allow a Special Use Permit application because Ma Hollins appealed the violation notice before the City enacted new regulations for skill games on April 5, 2022.
- Ma Hollins applied for a Special Land Use Permit for the Planning Commission meeting of May 9, 2022.
- I issued a packet recommending that the Planning Commission recommend the City Council deny the Special Use Permit request because skill games are illegal under Virginia Code. This initial recommendation was influenced with the understanding that a statewide court action influencing skill game activity would conclude on May 18, 2022.
- The statewide court action restricting criminal enforcement against skill games under certain circumstances, which the Ma Hollins machines qualify as, was extended for six (6) months into November 2022.
- With the extended court action, the Planning Commission wanted an alternate recommendation to postpone action on the item until December. Postponement would allow Ma Hollins to operate without restrictions.
- I provided a list of conditions to the Planning Commission, Ma Hollins agreed to the conditions, and the Planning Commission recommended to Council, approving the Special Use Permit until the end of 2022 with operational restrictions recommended in the past.
To clarify three (3) options:
- Deny the Special Use Permit request. If Ma Hollins continues to operate commercial recreation, the City will have to bring a civil case against Ma Hollins for zoning violations because the court injunction limits criminal enforcement.
- Approve the Planning Commission recommendation. Allows Ma Hollins to operate commercial recreation within the 11 conditions the Planning Commission recommended through the end of 2022.
- Remand the request back to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission may postpone action until the injunction is over allowing Ma Hollins to operate commercial recreation without restrictions in the meantime if they do not violate the injunction.