News

Card room proposal to receive city review

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

A longtime local businessman is hoping to open a card room on Enumclaw's east side, and has asked the City Council to rescind its prohibition against such businesses.

Richard Jensen's goal is to establish a privately-owned card room - along with a full-service restaurant, lounge and separate area for small banquets or business meetings - at the former home of the U.S. Forest Service. Jensen owns the building at 857 Roosevelt Ave., fronting on state Route 410.

Jensen's proposal has gone before the City Council's Community and Economic Development Committee, which determined the issue should be addressed by the full council. Jensen has also presented his idea to the Enumclaw Area Chamber of Commerce and the Enumclaw Downtown Partnership.

Discussion of his proposal is on the City Council's agenda for Monday night. That meeting begins at 7:30 in council chambers at City Hall, 1339 Griffin Ave.

Jensen is offering his proposal under terms of the "enhanced card room program," which was approved in 1996 by the Washington State Gambling Commission. The program allows for privately-owned businesses to offer up to 15 card games and operate up to 20 hours per day. Such operations may offer betting limits up to $100.

The Enumclaw City Council decided in 1999 to prohibit any type of card room, passing an ordinance banning such operations. That would have to be repealed before Jensen could operate, and the city also would have to address zoning issues, according to City Attorney Mike Reynolds. Currently, gambling operations are not specifically mentioned in any zone.

Jensen is emphasizing the economic impact a card room could have on the community. Such operations are required to pay taxes to their community, which could amount to $100,000 annually, Jensen claims in a written explanation of his proposal. Also, the demand for all goods and services throughout the community would increase, he said, due to the influx of card room visitors.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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