After much debate and at the recommendation from the city attorney’s office, the Waukesha Common Council reluctantly approved a permit for a payday lending business, The Cash Store, at 1180 W. Sunset Dr.
The plan commission unanimously recommended denying the permit; however Asst. City Attorney Miles Eastman informed the council that after reviewing city ordinances and zoning, they had no grounds to deny it. Eastman said that under state law, there were only three reasons the city could deny the permit, none of which were applicable in this case.
Therefore: “The city attorney’s office strongly recommends approving the permit,” Eastman said.
Alderman Vance Skinner said he was “challenged” by this recommendation.
“Being on the plan commission and having that information come before us… It’s become very important from my perspective that we revisit this because there is a proliferation … along Sunset and other areas,” Skinner said.
“I believe council would be violating the law to not grant the permit,” Eastman said. “If you’re concerned about the proliferation of payday lenders in the city of Waukesha, I also recommend … enacting additional restrictions.”
Alderman Joan Francoeur, also a member of the plan commission, said that she didn’t want to expose the city to litigation and additional costs and so would vote to approve the permit. Other council members expressed the same opinion.
“I do this under protest. I don’t want to do this. I feel my hands are tied,” Francoeur said.
Skinner informed the council that at the plan commission meeting, citizens spoke against allowing such businesses and reported that there were assurances made regarding what type of businesses would be allowed in the Shoppes at Fox River development
“We made a promise and we’re kind of turning our backs on it,” Skinner said. “That’s the challenge for me.”
Skinner referred the issue of restrictions for payday lenders to the city attorney’s office for further study.
In other business, the common council:
- Set a public hearing for Oct. 18 on the rezoning of 1.6 acres at S42 W25048 Oakview Drive to residential zoning;
- Approved a reorganization plan from the Park & Rec Department that added over 2000 hours of work for less money, according to Alderman Joe Pieper;
- Approved the low bid for repairs on the Barstow Street bridge project, which is budgeted to cost $40,000;
- Approved a bid of $1.78 million for equipment at the wastewater treatment plant, the money for which will come out of an equipment replacement fund which has sufficient funds to cover the expense without borrowing, according to Pieper.