New Strings on Card Club Delay Final Action

March 06, 1985|HERB SAMPLE | Times Staff Writer

By approving additional restrictions on the operation of the Rendezvous Card Club, the Moorpark City Council has delayed for two weeks the final action on the club's reopening.

Two weeks ago, the council gave tentative approval to the club's reopening by the late owner's son and daughter.

Because of the operation restrictions added Monday to the initial action, the council will have to take another vote in two weeks on the amendment to a city ordinance requiring course of a card club when the owner dies.

There was no opposition from the public at the first vote. But, when the measure came before the council Monday night, a handful of residents spoke against Moorpark's only card room, saying they feared there would be a proliferation of card rooms if the Rendezvous were allowed to reopen.

The council then revised the measure to allow the businessto reopen, restrict the card room to two poker tables and require an annual reporting of gross receipts. The council also asked its staff to recommend amounts for an annual license fee for the club, limits on betting levels and a levy on the card room's operators that would reimburse the city for staff time spent working on the amendment.

At the Monday meeting, several former customers of the card room urged the council to reopen the business, calling it a "social club" and not a haven for high-stakes players from outside the eastern Ventura County area.

The changes were approved by a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Albert Prieto and Mayor Pro Tem James D. Weak, voting against the amendment. They were also dissenters in the first vote.

The card room, a fixture in Moorpark for nearly 30 years, has been closed since December when its owner, Robert S. Bonta, died. A county ordinance approved in 1958--later adopted by Moorpark when it incorporated in 1983--prohibited new card rooms from opening, but allowed existing ones to operate as long as the original owner was alive.

Bonta's two children, Mary Ann Haney of Moorpark and Warren Bonta of Sacramento, asked the council last month to amend the ordinance to allow them to operate the business.

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