The Waxahachie City Council approved an ordinance amending and regulating where check cashing services, car title loan businesses, payday advance, money transfer or loan businesses can operate in the city during its Monday meeting.

The ordinance restricts these alternative financial businesses from operating within 1,000 feet of each other.  Alternative financial businesses have to be 200 feet away from a lot zoned or used for residential purposes and can’t be located within 500 feet of the rights of way of U.S. Highway 77, Elm Street, Ferris Avenue or Main Street.

Also alternative financial services businesses are not permitted to operate in the central area district, can only operate within a free standing building, can’t be located in the same structure as other uses and can only operate in commercial, light industrial one, light industrial two and heavy industrial zoning districts. The ordinance will not affect alternative financial services businesses that are now operating within the city.

Owner of Waxahachie Pawn Dan Morton came to the council to speak on behalf of the pawnshop industry. Originally the ordinance had included pawnshops on its list of alternative financial businesses.

 “It is no secret that the pawn industry has had a black eye from the public. However over the last 25 years industries like Cash America have changed that stereotypical view of what a pawn shop is and what we do,” Morton said. “Although there are some that still have some unsavory business practices out there, the majority of the pawnshops are very well organized, operate with integrity and upmost respect for our customers.”

Morton said pawnshops are very heavily regulated and are good citizens in the community. Some of Morton’s concerns were how would these restrictions affect new businesses coming in, how would they affect him if he wanted to expand his business or sell it in the future and also what is the benefit of additional regulations.

Councilman Mark Singleton said the primary reason behind the ordinance is that these types of business have the tendency to congregate in one area. The ordinance would help to manage them throughout the city.

The council removed pawnshops from the list of businesses in this ordinance because they felt that a pawnshop operated very differently from the other businesses listed in the ordinance.

In other action

Presenting a request for a specific use permit within a heavy industrial zoning district for a private club was Rita Bryan. Bryan and her husband, Brandy, own the Sand Pit, located at 6350 N. Interstate Highway 35E. This facility has several sand volleyball courts and hosts volleyball tournaments.

Director of Planning Clyde Melick said the business currently allows people to bring coolers on to the site for $10, but a private club license from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission would make it safer by regulating alcohol on the site.

Singleton said one of his concerns was about growing a business that is located in an industrial zone because it can put people at risk.

Melick said when the Bryans came to the city they found that outdoor amusement is allowed in a heavy industrial area. The request passed in a 4-1 vote, with Singleton voting in opposition.

Hugo Monsanto Architects made a request for a site plan for an office building located near U.S. Highway 287 and RVG Parkway. The council approved the request.

Chris Acker made a request for a site plan to construct an office building to be located on the north side of U.S. Highway 287 Bypass behind Comfort Suites. The council approved the request.

RGA Architecture made a request for a site plan for a proposed expansion of the International Aluminum facility located at 200 Singleton Road. The expansion will add 154,974 square feet creating additional space for offices, manufacturing and warehousing. The council approved the request.  

The council approved the request for an additional dumpster enclosure to be located at the rear of ShowBiz Cinema Theater, located at 108 Broadhead Road.

The council approved a final plat of four lots on RVG Plaza.

Waxahachie resident Matthew Moore came before the council to discuss the proposed Youth Center at Penn Park. Moore told the council that about a month ago  the existing building at the park was damaged by fire. Since the fire Moore and others have looked into fundraising efforts to help with the repair and renovation of the building.

City Manager Paul Stevens told the council that the city does have insurance on the building and are looking into the matter.

Mayor John Wray presented a proclamation to members of the Daughters of the America Revolution naming Sept.17-23 as “Constitution Week” in the city.   

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