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Clarkton may get Bingo establishment

By Erin Smith

The town of Clarkton is growing and attracting new businesses. According to Kentrina Woods, Town Clerk, the town has been contacted by someone who is seeking information about the town’s Bingo gaming ordinance.

“They wanted to know could they open a bingo establishment in the town of Clarkton,” said Woods. She told the board on Tuesday night the gentleman did not leave his contact information.

Town Attorney Cliff Hester asked Woods if the caller was asking about a permit. Woods said they were asking about opening a business, specifically a Bingo establishment. Hester replied the town did have a Bingo ordinance at one time. Woods presented a copy of the ordinance to Hester and stated she had also emailed a copy to him.

“I don’t think we are violating anything by prohibiting gambling. I don’t think that has been ruled unconstitutional by the State legislature,” said Hester after briefly looking over the ordinance.

Audience member Linda Croom said there are stipulations regarding where in the town these types of establishments can locate.

Hester reminded the board that the town did have a Bingo establishment about 20 years ago. He said the establishment was operated by a Hester family from Bladenboro.

“I can’t remember the reasons, but it has been 20 years ago or more. I can’t remember how they got around the ordinance but I think it may have had to do with some type of court ruling or something,” said Hester.

He asked Woods for the name of the person requesting the information.

“He didn’t say who he was,” said Woods. “He was wanting to ask about the regulations. I don’t know what to tell these people. That is why I sent it to you.”

“We’ve got an ordinance that forbids it and if they want to challenge it, it’s probably not worth your while to do it, if the Supreme Court has ruled on it, that it is improper (to place restrictions),” said Hester.

Hester told the board he thought the regulations the town has are legitimate and do not place an improper restriction on those types of establishments. He added he will research the matter and give the board an answer at the February meeting.

In other business:

Public Works Director Chris Hall updated the board on an issue he encountered involving Glen Starnes and the parking of a large utility work truck. Starnes was on the agenda to appear at the meeting but did not attend.

Hall explained that Starnes had approached him about parking the large work truck on the gravel area at the town due to how wet his yard is.

Hall said he told Starnes to come to the meeting to request permission. After the conversation, Hall found Starnes’ truck parked on the gravel area. He contacted him and requested he move it. Hall said he also found the truck parked in the middle of the street with cones at either end and obstructing traffic in the street. He has also found him parked in front of one of the town’s well sites blocking access to the well in the event of an emergency. Hall said he contacted the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and they spoke with him about the issue.

The board heard from Clarkton Beautification’s Wanda Burch regarding a request to repair the electric wiring at Butler park for the Christmas tree. The board requested Hall gather an estimate and return it to the board.

Burch also requested the Clarkton Homemakers be allowed to use the meeting space once per month in the Clarkton Depot. Clarkton Town Commissioner Stephen Hester offered Burch the use of the fire department but it was declined. The Board approved the matter.

The board heard from Mr. Nye regarding the condition of a home on Graham Street. Kentrina Woods presented a letter from David Butler regarding the home in question. The home was descried as having trees down in the yard, the yard is unkept, and the home has been empty for a while. Attorney Cliff Hester said he would review the town’s ordinances to see if the condition of the property violates the nuisance ordinances.

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