GAINESVILLE - In a split decision, Gainesville City Council voted Tuesday night to relax distance restrictions on pawn shops in the city limits.
The change in the ordinance means there would be no requirement to limit the distance from one pawn shop to another. Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras voted against the change.
"I'm concerned that we may have too many of them on every corner," said Figueras.
She and Councilwoman Ruth Bruner voted against relaxing the restrictions.
While Councilman Georgia Wangeman said he agreed with Figueras about not wanting to see large numbers of pawn shops in the city, he voted for the ordinance change along with council members Bob Hamrick and Sam Couvillon.
"I think the law of supply and demand will take care of the whole problem," said Wangeman. "You know, if there's too many, somebody's going to go out of business."
Mayor Danny Dunagan, who voted in favor of the ordinance change, pointed out following the meeting that other like-businesses, such as liquor stores, are not under distance restrictions. He said the change in the pawn shop ordinance brings regulations for those businesses in line with others in the city.
NOTE: Gainesville officials clarified that Mayor Danny Dunagan for the first time needed to vote on this particular ordinance in order to create a majority vote. Under the new city charter, there cannot be a 3-2 vote on the council. If there is, the Mayor votes. Four votes are needed for an issue to pass or fail.