The Fort Worth City Council is considering a proposal that would ease restrictions on pawn shops in the city, but one councilwoman says Cowtown doesn't need more pawn shops.
As it stands now, pawn shops and payday lenders that go out of business for two years or more cannot reopen in the same location. But a proposal would do away with the two-year rule for pawnshops.
City Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks said she is opposed to the change, saying there are already more than enough pawnshops in her district.
"We have two banks in an area that has thousands of people," Hicks said. "And yet we have a myriad of these financial institutions that can really set people back."
The original ordinance was intended to reduce the number of businesses the City Council deemed a potential negative impact on neighboring residential areas, such as pawnshops, payday-lending operations, tattoo parlors and massage parlors.
"I am fearful that if we change it for this one business, there will be many others," Hicks said.
Residents such as Yahaira Bettancourt are in agreement.
"There's like six," Bettancourt said. "There's a couple of them right there down the street."
But some who live in Hicks' district say tough economic times mean more and more people are frequenting businesses such as pawn shops -- and that more of them wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
"We had a real tough time last year, and I ended up having to pawn everything," Eva Chacon said.
"Some people don't have money or funds so they would like to pawn their stuff and get some extra money out, so I think it would be a good idea to have more around," Yahaira Bettancourt said.
Hicks said she just wants to keep the current ordinance in place.
"I'm not saying that pawn shops need to go away," she said. "I'm just saying, 'Why fix it if it's not broken?'"
State Sen. Wendy Davis also sent the Fort Worth City Council a letter asking it to table the issue until the state legislators can discuss strengthening regulations against pawn shops and payday lenders in the next legislative session.