Thursday, April 2, 2009

Preserving a pawn shop, in the heart of affluent America …

   When is a LULU (locally unwanted land use) no longer a LULU?  Perhaps when it becomes a comfortable part of the community.  Perhaps when exclusionary land use laws squeeze out an established business.  And perhaps when economic times call for a reassessment of a business that an affluent community might have found undesirable just a few years ago.
Pawnshop     According to the Lookout News of Santa Monica, Cal. (hey, when most of the traditional newspapers are gone, sources such as these will be the best places to find accurate news), the Santa Monica City Council voted last week to order the drafting of a zoning change that would allow for more locations for pawnshops in the downtown area.  (Here’s corroboration from the city, listed after a request that the new Bloomingdale’s store use “a color palette appropriate for Santa Monica” and not so much white.)  The impetus, according to Lookout News, concerns Angelo’s Pawn Shop, the last remaining such business in the city, once famous as a laid-back beach community, but increasingly wealthy over the past decade.  Angelo’s is being pushed out of its current downtown home, which is being remodeled, and can’t find another location in the small area that is currently zoned to allow pawnshops.  Lookout News quotes the city’s mayor as saying that the pawn shop is good for downtown.
   We’re likely to hear more mayors of wealthy communities express such opinions in the coming years …

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