If nothing else, the timing's certainly good: Just three days after Mayor Dwaine Caraway branded mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings the "Payday Loan King" in a series of ads to which Rawlings later responded, the city council's Budget, Finance & Audit Committee is about to take up the subject of how to regulate the quick-cashiers. Tune in for what's sure to be a spirited conversation about how to regulate so-called alternative financial establishments, which surrounding cities have limited by erecting various roadblocks -- like, say, Farmers Branch and Richardson's specific-use permitting process and Irving's rules disallowing two payday lenders from existing within 1,000 feet of each other.
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This has already gone before the City Plan Commission, which ixnayed minimum separation requirements back in February. But the council continues to make this a priority. This morning's briefing contains a few rules and regs up for consideration, among them:
Minimum Separation: No alternative financial establishment may be located within 1,500 feet, measured from property line to property line, of any other alternative financial establishment.
Minimum Distance From Residential: No alternative financial establishment may be located within 300 feet, measured from property line to property line, from a lot in a residential district.
Stand Alone Building: An alternative financial establishment may only operate within a freestanding building and may not operate in the same structure as any other use.
But council may not have to do anything: There are several bills in the state Legislature attempting to regulate payday lenders, and the city may wait to see how those go before wading back in those waters.
Update at 11:03 a.m.: Theresa O'Donnell, director of Sustainable Development and Construction, has just begun her presentation to the council. She's outlining the "alternatives" right now. Watch.