A proposed ordinance for Montgomery, Ala., would restrict locations of pawn shops, auto title lenders, and payday lenders within the city. Under the measure, the businesses would be prevented from opening within 2,500 feet of one another or within 250 feet of a residence, church, school, or public park. The guideline is meant to keep such stores from clustering in certain areas of the city, said District 1 City Councilman Richard Bollinger.
Existing businesses would be grandfathered in under the ordinance; but if a business closes, a new one in that location would no longer be exempt after six months. The original proposal would have mandated spaces of 3,500 feet between the businesses and stipulated that they locate at least 500 feet away from residential areas. Bollinger and fellow councilmen Charles Smith and C.C. Calhoun worked together on the committee that created the current plan.
In September, the Montgomery City Council implemented a three-month freeze on new business licenses for payday and title loans. In December, it extended the moratorium another six months. Two businesses, however, were given permission to go forward. The businesses tend to locate on high-speed avenues and cluster in certain areas, which may discourage other businesses and hurt property values.