The Village of Hazel Crest Discusses Lifting Pawn Shop Moratorium
1/29/2014, 4:43 p.m.
Village of Hazel Crest officials talked with local residents and business owners last Thursday during a public meeting to discuss lifting the current moratorium on issuing business permits/licenses to pawn shops and cash-for-gold enterprises. The village’s moratorium or, temporary prohibition of issuing licenses to pawn shops and cash-for-gold ventures, has been in effect for a year. It now must be reviewed by the Village of Hazel Crest’s President and Board of Trustees but the fate of the moratorium, according to village officials, will be decided mostly by concerned citizens.
Wayne Johnson, a Hazel Crest resident, discussed the presence of a new pawn shop in the area with the Chicago Citizen Newspaper.
“Unfortunately, it’s the stereotype that that business brings with it,” said Johnson. We’re trying to pull up our property values. "We’ve got to do something about it in our community because our community is just wasting away. We’ve got to start somewhere and I’m going to start right here.”
The Board discussed why, in their opinion, it would not be in the best interests of the Village of Hazel Crest to lift the moratorium during the forum which was held at the Village Municipal Center, 3000 W. 170th Place.
“It’s been the experience of Hazel Crest that, number one, any prior applications for such businesses have not come from residents of Hazel Crest itself,” said Village Manager James Whigham, Sr. “They’re people who don’t live in Hazel Crest or in surrounding communities, for that matter. It is not indigenous to the demographics of Hazel Crest.”
Since the moratorium has been established he stated,“people have decided to go elsewhere, they have not even applied.”
Also according to Whigham, Sr., because pawn shops and related businesses engage in transactions involving the exchange of personal property, the Village cannot impose a tax on the transaction.
Hazel Crest citizens and trustees also fear that the presence of pawn shops increase criminal activity. Accordingly, the Hazel Crest Police Department (HCPD) recently released a report detailing the crimes that would likely increase if a new pawn shop opened up in the village. Burglaries and robberies were on the list.
The final decision regarding the moratorium has yet to be officially announced. For more information visit http://www.villageofhazelcrest.com/.