HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Monday night, the Hoover City Council voted to renew a moratorium on certain new businesses in the city of Hoover, including check cashing shops, vape stores, and pawn shops.
Temporary in design, the initial moratorium was first passed in October of 2018 and will be in effect for an additional year.
Mitch Smith owns several pawn shops in the area including Golden Pawn and Jewelry in Hoover. He’s been in the pawnshop business for over 30 years and is disappointed by the move.
“A pawn shop is like a box of chocolates,” explained Smith, defending his business. “You never know what you’re going to get. The selection you can find, the variety, the oddity — they’re very neat places to walk around and look around.”
Hoover City Councilor Casey Middlebrooks, who voted in favor of the measure, tells CBS 42 that the goal of the moratorium is to set the city up for economic development in the future while maintaining the family-oriented nature of Hoover.
“We’re all about family first here in Hoover and we want to protect our families and neighborhoods,” said Middlebrooks. “And these types of businesses do have a certain type of stigma attached to them.”
Smith disagrees with the idea that his business should be stigmatized and believes that the service he provides is a benefit to his customers.
“We fill that short term niche for people where they can get some money and continue, pay their bills, stand on their own feet, not have to borrow or ask anybody else,” said Smith.
Middlebrooks emphasizes that the moratorium is temporary and he is not opposed to more of these shops opening in the future.
Right now, he is waiting for the implementation of a new zoning ordinance to dictate where these types of businesses can set up shop. Ideally, he wants for there to be some type of a “buffer” zone between the businesses and residential areas.
Since no such ordinance currently exists, he believes the moratorium will buy the city time to get one in place.
“Have a little patience,” said Middlebrooks. “I believe a new zoning ordinance will be coming forward real soon that will allow these businesses to continue opening up in Hoover but protecting our community and neighborhoods first.”
Middlebrooks estimates that there are about 15 of these types of businesses currently in Hoover. While the moratorium is in effect until next October, Middlebrooks adds that it could be rescinded if an ordinance is in place before then.