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Snohomish city council bans card rooms

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SNOHOMISH -- Luck just ran out for card rooms in Snohomish.
In a 4-2 vote Tuesday night, the city council decided to ban social card rooms, something that has been legal in town for years.
Public card rooms, sometimes called mini-casinos, are for-profit businesses where blackjack and poker are played. In some cases, the house has a stake; in others, players pay a fee to play against each other.
The Washington State Gambling Commission already tightly regulates card rooms. Cities who opt to allow it have no control over how many come in to town.
Although no licensed card roooms operate in town now, council members who supported the ban worried a pack of mini-casinos might move in and damage the character of Snohomish. They also worried about the societal consequences of gambling.
The council also had planned to address a request to change the east side of the 400 block of Avenue D from single family residential to historic business. The issue drew more than 50 people to the meeting, many of whom were concerned doing so would open the floodgates for allowing commercial business in the heart of the historic district.
The applicant, John Knutsen, had planned to expand the Snohomish Eye Care Center at 415 Ave. D, which is surrounded by historic homes.
It suddenly became a non-issue when the applicants announced they would be withdrawing their request.
The applicants "didn't wish to set up a neighborhood conflict," said Joshua Scott, a Snohomish architect representing the business owners. "They just wanted to expand the business."
Instead, the business owners plan to look at other options for expanding their business. The city council sent the issue back to the Planning Commission to be reviewed and asked city staff for more information.
Debra Smith: 425-339-3197, dsmith@heraldnet.com
Story tags » GovernmentSnohomish

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