Colonial Downs Group has more work to do before it can secure a permit for Northern Virginia's first Rosie's Gaming Emporium after the Dumfries Town Council rejected a permit request Tuesday.
The company, which runs a horse-racing track in New Kent County and gaming parlors in Vinton, Hampton and Richmond, had settled on the Triangle Shopping Plaza for its Dumfries location, but council members split over a one-time $100,000 payment for transportation impacts.
The council voted multiple times, but in the end a resolution to approve the conditional use permit without the $100,000 condition failed 3-4. Mayor Derrick Wood and council members Charles Brewer and Brian Fields voted for the resolution, while members Monaé Nickerson, Melva Willis, Selonia Miles and Cydny Neville voted against it.
After the meeting, Neville said she believes there are other business opportunities that the town could attract to the site. She said she has previously told the applicant that she doesn’t support the proposed location because children walk to the nearby library in the same shopping center.
“So, hopefully they’ll go back to the drawing board,” she added.
Although this permit has been denied, Wood said after the meeting that he remains hopeful there is some path forward to bringing Rosie’s to the town.
“I’m a bit surprised it failed, because the community asked us to do this,” he said, referring to a referendum supporting a gaming parlor that was approved by voters 468-306 in November.
Mark Hubbard, spokesperson for Colonial Downs Group, said on Wednesday that the company anticipates to revisit the Rosie’s proposal at the town council’s meeting in the two weeks.
“We continue to work with Dumfries town leaders and council members to highlight the extremely positive aspects of our proposal in terms of jobs, tax revenues and economic development,” Hubbard said in an email.
Wood said Rosie’s will bring more jobs to the town. The company has said the local site would have 150 employees with an average annual salary of $47,000. The parlors feature slot-like machines based on historic horse race results, a restaurant and live entertainment. The company announced in January it would increase its minimum wage at all locations to $15 an hour and $9 an hour for tipped positions.
“In a single jump, we could raise the median income by one business coming here if we could agree,” Wood said.
Colonial Downs estimates it would pay the town $640,000 yearly in local gaming tax revenue, according to the permit application. The company also plans to donate $100,000 a year in the areas they operate as part of a charitable giving program.
Colonial Downs was proposing to lease 18,364 square feet at the shopping center from Curtis Properties Inc., according to its application. The plaza has 79,435 square feet in all.
William Capers, the town’s planning and community development director, recommended approval of the permit with several conditions, including the $100,000 payment for traffic impacts at Curtis Drive and southbound U.S. 1. The money would go toward planned road improvements in that area.
Council members Brewer and Willis said they didn't agree with the road payment because it would set a precedent that could deter other businesses from moving to the town.
Wood said after the meeting that the company had agreed to pay the $100,000, adding the amount was determined based on a traffic impact analysis.
Town staff has also recommended maximum hours of 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Colonial Downs also submitted a security improvement plan that stated Rosie’s would coordinate with Dumfries police and maintain security cameras 24 hours a day, as well as other security measures.
No one spoke during a public hearing on the project before the council’s vote.