The White Plains Common Council voted unanimously on June 3 to allow more areas in town to have various recreational facilities, including video games and eSports.
The Council approved legislation to amend the city’s ordinance to allow commercial “Recreation Facilities.”
The amendment to the Zoning Ordinance Definition of “Recreation Facilities” includes “Electronic Games,” Laser Tag, eSports, and Virtual Reality Games/Rides in the B-1 and B-6 Business Districts.
The changes are in response to recent applications for video gaming, golf simulation, and eGaming applications and other uses that have emerged with changing technology.
The legislation has two components. One is to eliminate the exclusion of stadia and arenas because these are covered elsewhere in the Zoning Ordinance. The other is to specify where these new uses will be located.
Several youths came to the May 6 Common Council meeting to support the legislation, as well as Kevin Nunn, executive director the White Plains Business Improvement District, who said the legislation would allow the downtown and the malls to be “current and competitive” by allowing increased entertainment options.
No residents spoke at last week’s public hearing.
Mayor Tom Roach said last week, “eSports are a big thing now. Many colleges now have eSports. It’s considered an athletic pursuit.”
“It’s a very positive thing,” Roach said. “I know that the operators of our malls here in the city are excited about this ordinance because part of the focus of malls today is to make them more community centers with more activities.”