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January 1, 2013

Arguing against alternative label

GREENVILLE — A local financial business is arguing against being classified by the City of Greenville as an “alternative financial service.”

The Zoning Board of Adjustment is scheduled to conduct a public hearing next week concerning an appeal filed by Action Finance Incorporated.

The hearing is set during the board’s regular called session at 5:30 p.m. January 10 in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street.

Attorney Joe E. Weis is representing Action Finance in the appeal of the decision by the City of Greenville to classify the company at 2705 Lee Street as an “Alternative Financial Service”, specifically as a business that engages in non-traditional short-term lending.

City officials have been debating the zoning classification of “Alternative Financial Services” (AFS) for more than two years.

In 2010, in response to the proliferation of the businesses along the Wesley Street general retail corridor, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended a 1,000 foot separation requirement for AFS businesses, allowing them by right in general retail, highway retail, commercial, and industrial.

The City Council modified the Commission’s recommendation and removed general and highway retail from the list of zoning districts allowed, also eliminating nonconforming AFS businesses whenever a new Certificate of Occupancy was requested.

In early 2011, the Commission and Council enacted an ordinance regulating alternative personal services such as tattoo parlors and fortune tellers.

At that time, the Commission recommended that alternative financial service businesses be required to obtain Conditional Use Permits rather than allowing them by right.

In January 2012, the Council turned down a request by a loan company which was seeking a change in zoning for the building which once housed the former Braum’s store.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment (BOA) is a five-member quasi-judicial board appointed by the City Council whose primary responsibility is to hear and review requests for variances and appeals on matters related to the City of Greenville Zoning Ordinance.

It is not a legislative body and does not have authority to amend ordinances or create new laws.

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