By Mark Waite
Another payday loan and check cashing business was approved by the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission Wednesday at 1441 E. Highway 372, though it’s less than 1,500 feet from a similar business, Gentry Finance.
RPC member Greg Hafen II pointed out the two businesses are only 1,425 feet apart but the board’s legal counsel pointed out a legal technicality.
Nye County Deputy District Attorney Charles Watkins said this business was a check cashing and payday loan business, which is licensed and operated differently than Gentry Finance.
The staff report notes Gentry Finance is licensed under state statute 675, while the applicant, Nevada Title and Payday Loans Inc., is licensed under state statute 604A, which allows deferred deposit loans, short term loans, title loans and check cashing services.
State statute 675 requires minimum assets of $50,000, maintaining records for at least two years, prohibits using personal property as security and allows loans for an indefinite term. State statute 604A requires a $50,000 surety bond, permits check cashing and deferred deposit loans for a fee, provides for collection on a defaulted loan, restricts loans to 30 days and bars the company from accepting collateral for a loan unless it’s a vehicle title or an assignment of wages.
RPC member John Koenig cast the sole vote against the conditional use permit, which is required for check cashing and payday loan businesses in a general commercial zone.
“We have a loan and finance company which is licensed to have short term loans and check cashing services. We have a new one here that wants to be a check cashing business. To me, those are similar uses,” Koenig said.
Watkins replied check cashing services and check cashing loans are two different licenses under Nevada Revised Statutes.
“They’re similar in a general way but I think in specifically what they do, obviously they are different,” Watkins said.
The property is owned by the Mario and Rachele Zanetti Trust.
Later the RPC heard a request by George Romero to rezone sections of Emery Street and Humahuaca Street general commercial near his restaurant so he could open a check cashing business. Planners suggested instead revising Nye County code to allow check cashing businesses as a permitted use in a neighborhood commercial zone, rather than rezoning to general commercial.
The second discussion about check cashing businesses led Koenig to exclaim, “how many check cashing places do you want in the town of Pahrump? We have enough of them now.”
He didn’t want to take further action on the item.
Planner Beth Lee said the area around Emery and Humahuaca streets between Oxbow Street and Basin Avenue is a problem area for planning, with lot sizes of 5,000 square feet in a neighborhood commercial zone that requires a minimum of 5,000 square feet, while general commercial lots average 25,000 square feet. She said the largest lot in the area is only half that size. Based on the intentions for a neighborhood commercial zone, the lot sizes and utility infrastructure in that area, planners believe the parcels are zoned appropriately, she said.
Hafen inquired about a minimum separation required between check cashing facilities and schools or churches. Lee said the separation is only between similar businesses. Hafen said the committee revising the master plan hasn’t studied this area yet.
Neighborhood commercial is a less intrusive use than general commercial, Hafen said. Lee said approval of check cashing businesses still requires a conditional use permit, which allows a public hearing in case there is a dissent from neighbors.