The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Top News

August 18, 2013

City attorney: Ordinance needs to be changed

GREENVILLE — The City of Greenville will have to change a portion of its controversial “Alternative Financial Services” (AFS) ordinance, which leaves the city open to civil litigation.

City Attorney Daniel Ray intends to meet with the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday to draft a version of the ordinance which will be considered by the City Council.

The ordinance would strike the language which currently prevents a payday loan company or similar business from opening in the same location where another AFS operation closed.

In a memo to the Commission, Ray notes that the measure has been found to be illegal.

“The purpose of this section was to ultimately reduce the number of Alternative Financial Service businesses that could legally operate in certain areas of the city,” Ray said. “However, this manner of terminating non-conforming uses is not recognized as valid under Texas law.”

The Commission is scheduled to meet for its first regular session since March when it convenes at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A public hearing is set prior to the Commission voting on whether to recommend approval of the revised ordinance to the Council, which will consider the issue August 27.

Ray referred to the section of the Alternative Financial Services ordinance, approved by the city three years ago, which was designed to prevent another AFS from locating in the same building where one of the services closed.

“Effectively this section means that an ‘Alternative Financial Service’ business (i.e., businesses engaged in the practice of short-term loans and auto-title loans) may not sell their businesses to another owner, occupant, tenant, or business if they are a ‘non-conforming use’ – which in this case means that they are located within 1,000 feet of another Alternative Financial Service.,” Ray said. “If they do sell, the new owner, occupant, tenant, or business must obtain a new Certificate of Occupancy under other regulations, which will automatically terminate the privilege to continue operations.”

Ray said the section terminates a owner’s property rights in a manner not recognized by Texas Courts and without providing an avenue for appeal.

Ray is recommending the Commission and Council agree to remove the section of the ordinance entirely.

“The ordinance change is not a loosening of the restrictions on Alternative Financial Services,” Ray said. “It will not allow new businesses in that category to move in, and the 1000-foot spacing requirement will remain in place.  The removal of the illegal section will simply allow the legal transfer of Alternative Financial Service businesses from one owner to another.”

Ray said the city could be on the hook financially if it does not remove the section of the ordinance.

“The City Attorney’s office has advised the City Council that failure to remove the illegal language will subject the city to clear civil liability – liability for which there is no insurance coverage,” Ray said.

 “In addition, one business in the Alternative Financial Services category recently sold to a new owner. The Greenville location of that business was one of approximately 20 stores that were part of that sale, but due to the Zoning Ordinance restrictions, $850,000 of the sale proceeds have been kept in escrow. If the City fails to change the Zoning Ordinance, the owner of that store will lose his right to operate the store as well as the money in escrow, and will sue the city for constitutional violations.  The city could (and probably will) be liable for the total amount of the lost sale proceeds and legal costs – likely totaling more than $1,000,000 of taxpayer money.”

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Unemployment March 2014.jpg Jobless numbers take big dip

    Hundreds of people found jobs locally last month, as Hunt County’s unemployment statistics fell to a six-year low.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GCS flying high

    Greenville Christian School teachers found an entertaining way to learn about physics.

    April 19, 2014

  • Easter Bunny stock photo.jpg Following one busy Easter Bunny

    Easter egg hunts are scheduled in several locations across the area today and Sunday.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vaderrobot.jpg Dallas champions, Robowranglers look forward

    Practicing with the best hones skills and keeps members of Greenville High School Robowranglers on point, according to Director of Robotics Adrienne Emerson.
    The Robowranglers are preparing their robot “Vader” for the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis on April 23-26.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas drougnt as of 4-17-2014.jpg Wet Easter Sunday possible

    It may be a wet Easter holiday in North Texas, as thunderstorms are again in the forecast for the weekend.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff's Office Wanted fugitive captured in Ellis County

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Band1.jpg Roaring with pride

    The Greenville High School Lion Pride Band performs well under pressure, according to GHS band director Joel Weisburg

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Royce Tawater.jpg Shooting suspect changes mind on guilty pleas

    On second thought, a local man will leave it up to a jury to decide whether he is guilty of multiple charges in connection with two shootings in Greenville last summer.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Easter Eggstravaganza stork photo.jpg A hunting we will go

    There will be lots of brightly colored eggs hidden in the grasses across Hunt County this weekend, and plenty of opportunities for children to find them.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • GEUS Operations Center.jpg Saying thanks to police

    The board of the local electric utility system intends to take time tonight to thank officers with the Greenville Police Department for catching suspects who allegedly broke into the company’s headquarters last month.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Featured Ads
Poll

What's your favorite spring high school sport?

Swimming and diving
Wrestling
Basketball
Soccer
Tennis
Golf
Track and Field
Softball
Baseball
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Real Estate News