New Zoning Law Squelches Payday Lenders in Ames
Des Moines Register (IA)
May 10, 2012
City councilors in Ames, Iowa, passed a series of rules on May 8 to effectively shut out new payday lenders. Although it is the responsibility of state governments to regulate lender interest rates, cities can restrict the businesses' growth via zoning laws. The Ames ordinance, passed unanimously, requires that payday lenders be more than 1,000 feet from schools, child care centers, other payday lenders, any land zoned for residential uses, and any arterial street. "I can’t think of an example that it would leave where you or I could go plant a payday lender," said Ames Mayor Ann Campbell. Existing payday lenders will be permitted to remain in place or be taken over by new ownership. They cannot expand, however; and if payday lending stops at one of these properties for a year, the existing lender cannot return to that same location. According to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Ames is the first town in the state to restrict zoning for payday lenders this year. Des Moines, Clive, and West Des Moines approved rules against payday lenders in 2010.
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