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The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors tables vote on limiting pawnshops in the county
Date published: 5/9/2012
Spotsylvania County isn't putting a halt to new pawnshops just yet.
The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night unanimously voted to table a proposal that would limit the number of pawnshops in Spotsylvania to four.
The county would grandfather in its six existing pawnshops, which means three would have to close before another could open, based on the proposal.
"Once you regulate the pawnshops, what's the next business you'll regulate?" Supervisor Timothy McLaughlin asked. "I'm not for restricting business growth in the county."
The Sheriff's Office is recommending several changes to county ordinances for pawnshops. Supervisors were scheduled to vote on them Tuesday, but decided to have more discussion at a meeting June 12.
They won't take action until the last meeting in June at the earliest.
Supervisor Ann Heidig said she was concerned that pawnbrokers didn't have enough input prior to a public hearing at Tuesday's meeting.
Eight people--including pawnbrokers from B&B Pawn, Spotsylvania Gold and Pawn, Pawn King, and Liberty Pawn and Gold--spoke at the public hearing.
The pawnbrokers didn't address the proposal to limit their competition. But they did express concern over a proposal that they be required to take digital pictures of pawners or sellers and of the items pawned and sold.
Fredericksburg attorney Charlie Payne, who was representing Liberty Pawn and Gold, noted that pawnbrokers employ people and provide loans to those who are turned away by traditional lenders.
People give items to pawnbrokers as collateral for loans. If the pawners don't repay the loans with interest, the pawned items become merchandise for sale.
Payne said the industry is already "heavily regulated." "Increasing regulation and cost to them can be adverse," he said.
The Sheriff's Office is also recommending that the county:
Increase the application and renewal fee for gems and precious-metals licenses from $200 to $500.
Increase the retention period of gems and precious metals from 10 to 15 days from the time the transactions are reported to the Sheriff's Office.
Require pawnbrokers to keep electronic records of all transactions. The Sheriff's Office has purchased an electronic reporting program that pawnbrokers can use at no cost, but just half of the county's pawnshops use it.