Town leaders told the business owner she's welcome to try again after working with staff.
CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - Carolina Beach town leaders made up their mind Tuesday night about accepting a change to town rules that would allow a hookah bar.
Council members heard from, Gigi Guven, who owns Arabian Nights Hookah Cafe in Wilmington. She was hoping to open an establishment in Carolina Beach; however, council members were not ready to move forward with the project.
Guven was denied her hookah venture, but was told she could work with the council to try again later this year. Guven said she was disappointed by the council's decision and will not try to open up a hookah bar in Carolina Beach.
The biggest focus in Tuesday night's discussion did not focus on tobacco, but alcohol. Guven said she would not serve alcohol, but she would allow customers to bring in their own beer as allowed by state law.
Leaders in Carolina Beach said they needed a better understanding of what the town could regulate with the business without stepping over state law.
A hookah is a water pipe used to smoke flavored tobacco. A hookah usually is used by a group of smokers at the same time.
She says, her cafe in Wilmington doesn't serve alcohol and neither would the proposed cafe in Carolina Beach.
According to town staffers, the town does not have an employee capable of inspecting hookah cafes. They say, there are concerns about transmitting diseases through hookah pipes.
Guven tells us, hookah does not affect people's health. She tells us, if approved, she would hire five people and the cafe would give beach goers something to do.
"We have movie night. We do karaoke night, which is very fun for everybody. Also, we have a DJ sometimes come and play Friday and Saturday. We have game night," said Guven.
Guven says, if town officials deny her request she will look to open a cafe in Myrtle Beach.
North Carolina law does not allow smoking in bars and restaurants if they also serve food or drinks.
There are several hookah lounges in New Hanover County.