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Saturday, 03 November 2012 15:28

Turlock Poker Room Expansion Including Bar Approved by Planning Commission

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The Turlock Planning Commission granted the Turlock Poker Room permission to begin serving alcohol, as part of their expansion project that will include a nearly 1,400 square foot remodel, an approximately 300 square foot outdoor patio area, a “high-roller” room for high-stakes games or “poker parties,” additional restrooms, and full-service bar.

Turlock Poker Room & Casino relocated to the Turlock Cinema Center in June of 2009 from a small location on the corner of Main Street & Locust in Turlock. The casino currently occupies approximately 6,000 square feet at the Turlock Cinema Center, employs over 100 individuals, is the only card room within the City of Turlock, is open 24/7, and serves a diverse clientele drawing crowds from Merced to Stockton. Just over 2,000 unique individuals visited Turlock Poker Room within a three week period in October.

Turlock Poker Room, located next to Turlock Regal Cinemas, will be taking over the adjacent suite that Happy Feet Massage currently operates at. Happy Feet Massage will be moving into another suite located within the same Turlock Cinema Center.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to amend the Turlock Poker Room’s conditional use permit that was issued in 2008 to include serving alcohol between the hours of 6am to 2am. Although the business will be expanding in size, the amount of tables will not increase, as they are only allowed to have 14 operating tables at any time.

City staff stated that the addition to the business would not create any adverse affects on the parking lot and traffic within the area.

Although the Commission ultimately approved the amendment to the conditional use permit for the business, some commissioners did express concern regarding the outdoor patio area.

“I am worried there will be lots of drinking, and lots of foul language going around, and I’m concerned about the kids that will be passing by around the movie theater,” stated Commissioner Alex Salcedo. “There are possible issues of people not wanting to hear that when they’re trying to go to the move theater as a family.”

Sgt. Steve Webb of the Turlock Police Department addressed this issue, however, stating that due to the City’s Zoning Ordinance, the business would be required to have a fence of a minimum of 3 feet surrounding the outdoor patio area.

“If there is loud mouth people on that patio, then that’s when the security would come in,” stated Sgt. Webb. “If they are still causing problems, then that’s when we would come in.”

One of the owners of Turlock Poker Room, Phillip Rheinschild, stated that at Turlock Poker Room they expect their customers to act like “ladies and gentlemen” and stressed the importance of showing respect to the adjacent businesses. He also stated that the purpose of the outdoor patio area was to help keep their customers in a confined area, as there are customers who like to hang out outside of the building.

“This is a way to have more control with a fenced-in area,” stated Rheinschild. He also shared that while the business was originally apprehensive to serving alcohol, it would be necessary to stay competitive with other gambling businesses around the area that already do serve alcohol.

Security guards already stay put outside of the business now, and Rheinschild stated that more security would be added if problems arose.

“Well it sounds like everything is in place to run it as sufficiently as possible,” stated Commissioner Soraya Fregosi.

After receiving approval, representatives of the Turlock Poker Room stated that they would be taking their time with the new additions to the facility, and hope to have everything finished and operating before June of 2013.

For more information regarding the Turlock Poker Room, visit www.turlockpoker.com.

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