MN Supreme Court Confirms St. Louis Park City Council’s Denial of Permit to Pawn America

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In a decision that was issued last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld a moratorium that St. Louis Park placed on new pawn shops after Pawn America, a Burnsville based retailer with more than 20 locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, applied for a pawn license. The moratorium lowered the number of pawn shops that could operate in St. Louis Park  and also stated that pawn shops could not be located near homes, gun shops and liquor stores.  Pawn America was hoping to open its store at the intersection of Highway 100 and Excelsior Boulevard.

Residents of the area objected after they learned that Pawn America has applied for a pawn license and entered into an agreement to purchase a building. In response, the city council temporarily banned new pawn shops before drafting the new law with the restrictions.

The response of the city seems to be discriminatory towards a certain type of business, but the supreme court explained that a city could issue a moratorium “for the health, safety and welfare of the city’s citizens.” That gives the city broad discretion to do what it saw fit. Given the concerns of a pawn shop business near a residential neighborhood and the complaints of residents, the city of St. Louis Park took the steps it had available under Minnesota law to stop the shop from opening.

What do you think…should a pawn shop be treated differently than other retail businesses? Should it be kept away from residential neighborhoods?



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