New zoning rules are now in place to restrict where car-title and payday lenders can set up shop.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved new rules on Tuesday. Concerns were first expressed in 2013 about where these businesses have been located, and during the past three years, these companies have doubled from about 16 to an estimated 31.
Officials have long believed these lenders are inappropriate for the county’s revitalization districts where almost two-thirds—or about 19—can be found today. According to academic studies county planners examined, these companies signal decline in a community and deter other stores, eateries and small businesses from moving to these areas.
The zoning provisions, among other things, limit the locations where future businesses can open. Lenders legally in business now would be allowed to stay in their current locations, however.
Under former zoning rules, payday and car-title lenders were permitted to operate by-right in the same locations as commercial banks—that is within most commercial and industrial zoning districts.
Under the new rules, however, these businesses would be permitted by-right only in two commercial zoning districts, known as C-7 and C-8. These are the more traditional commercial areas off major roads or highways, such as Arlington Boulevard, Little River Turnpike and Richmond Highway.
The new regulations also require lenders to be based in shopping centers as opposed to stand alone uses. In addition, the following would apply:
- Only one lending business per shopping center are allowed.
- Lenders may not be located in shopping centers that are next to or across from any public use, place of worship, child care center, private school, or quasi-public athletic fields and related facilities.
- Hours of operation are limited to 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
- Cars may not be stored or sold on the property.
New alternative lending businesses also would be prohibited from locating in the county’s five commercial revitalization districts and two commercial revitalization areas:
- Baileys Crossroads – Seven Corners
- Richmond Highway
- Lake Anne
Of the approximately 31 lenders in business today, about five are payday and 22 are car title loan companies. Car title lenders make loans where people sign over their titles as collateral.
Zoning officials recommended these land use regulations because they will help place lenders in areas that have roads that can handle high traffic volumes.