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Officials: Pawn shop does not fit plan for area

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City officials are recommending denying a request for a pawn shop to locate in a former church on 17th Street.

The pawn shop isn’t a good fit for the area given the city’s future zoning plan, said Columbus Plan Commission member Dave Fisher.

The city’s future land use map has the area designated residential, Fisher said.

Columbus Pawn Shop owner Scott Brown wants to move his shop at 1637 N. National Road to 3126 17th St. and renovate the upper level into an apartment. The 17th Street building has more space, Brown said.

The property formerly was The Bible Church of Columbus and was used as office space but has been empty for years.

On Wednesday, Columbus Plan Commission members unanimously voted to give the proposal an unfavorable recommendation when the Columbus City Council considers it Aug. 5.

Brown said his purchase of the property is contingent on the city allowing the 17th Street property to be rezoned from commercial professional office to commercial neighborhood, which requires city council approval.

On Wednesday, plan commission members listened to several residents who live near the 17th Street property.

Adding a pawn shop to the neighborhood could attract more traffic to an already busy area, residents told the commission.

Tom Bryant, who lives next door to the property, said he worries that allowing more retail is not good for the look of the neighborhood and its residents.

“Since McDonald’s and Circle K took our backyards out, I guess out of our front door we’ll get to watch people buying and selling guns and carrying in big-screen TVs,” he said.

Casey Cole, 1714 Lee St., said he’s put a lot of time, effort and money into his property since buying it about two years ago.

Introducing a pawn shop to the mix would change his attitude about the safety of the neighborhood, Cole said.

More vehicles would end up parked in front of houses in the neighborhood if the city limited access points into the business, something the neighbors don’t want, according to Cole.

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