Feb 19, 2014
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Richmond might soon restrict where pawn and cash-for-gold businesses open, as city staff say there is a lack of regulation on secondhand shops.

On Tuesday, City Council voted in favor of exploring a proposal to restrict the locations of such businesses to major commercial zones in Richmond. The major commercial zones would include MacDonald Avenue, San Pablo Avenue and 23rd Street, and also the major shopping centers such as Hilltop Mall, Macdonald 80 Shopping Center and Pacific East Mall.

The shops would be restricted from moving in or near residential areas or in so-called neighborhood commercial zones, and would also have to follow certain security protocols. None of the five shops that currently operate in the city would be required to close as part of the proposed regulations.

“The primary reason is to begin to limit the proliferation of these businesses,” said Richard Mitchell, director of Planning and Building Services.

Over the past year, Mitchell said, there has been an increase in interest from merchants wanting to open up such shops.

“We had no way of regulating them prior to this ordinance,” Mitchell added.

Police complained about crime related to the shops. Mitchell said there appears to be a relationship between secondhand shops and “a number of house break-ins and the type of items being taken.”

Another reason to regulate, Mitchell said, is operators of some of the stores complained that other businesses in the city were not in compliance with state law.

Councilman Corky Booze complained that the restrictions would be”too tight” and will drive away business.

Mitchell said he believes the restrictions provide plenty of room for cash-for-gold stores to thrive in Richmond. He said neighborhood commercial zones would be better served by such businesses as grocery stores or beauty salons.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.