The state Lottery Commission on Thursday heard from both sides in an ongoing dispute between Lakeview Cafe and Cheat Lake-area residents who are fighting the new slot machine parlor.
The commission did not take any formal action. Commissioners are waiting for the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration to either appeal or accept a decision from an Ohio County judge that required the ABCA to issue a license to Lakeview Cafe.
The ABCA initially denied the license, but an Ohio County Circuit Court judge overturned that decision after Lakeview’s owner appealed.
ABCA officials have said they have the intent to appeal the decision from the Ohio County judge; however, no appeal has been filed.
On Thursday, Lakeview Cafe lawyer Bill Brewer told lottery officials the business has gone through the process and should be granted the license.
“We have followed all the regulations and statutes from A to Z,” Brewer said. “We have completely followed the law.”
However, some residents in the area are vehemently opposed to Lakeview. Allen Poe is a Cheat Lake resident who said he lives within 100 feet of the site.
“The impact it’s going to have is unbelievably devastating to our community,” Poe said. “It will affect our lifestyle. There is no doubt about it.”
The parlor would be open at 7 a.m., about when students are waiting for buses, Poe said. He also pointed out that cars will be driving through the area until 2 a.m., when Lakeview would close. Lights from cars, a new sign, dumpsters and noise would all negatively affect the area, Poe argued.
Some residents have also expressed concerns about property values and the chance of the cafe bringing more crime to the area.
But Brewer maintains that Poe’s complaints are insufficient to stop a business from opening. The area does not have zoning and Lakeview has gone through the legal process to obtain necessary permits, he said.
“Frankly, sometimes you can’t control what happens in your back yard,” Brewer said. “There are other establishments like this in close proximity and they were there.
“There is no basis to deny my client the opportunity to open his business.”
Opening Lakeview Cafe would violate the covenant of the land, Poe said. He says the original deed for the area did not allow nuisances.
“Something has to be done, or we as West Virginians are going to lose every right that we have,” Poe said. “I have rights. My rights are on paper. It’s being chosen to be ignored again.”
The Lottery Commission will review the record of the case and wait for the ABCA’s next move. Officials said Thursday that they could hold a public hearing in Morgantown to hear from the community.
Poe said he’s encouraged that there could be a public hearing. However, Brewer says he’s upset that the process is dragging on unnecessarily. Lakeview Cafe is losing hundreds of dollars per day, Brewer said.
“I’m concerned about the delay. My client has been trying to open this establishment for over two years,” Brewer said. “To go back and rehash everything that has already been presented — through public hearings and before the appeal through the ABCA — in my opinion is a waste of time and money.”