New Market drafts pawn shop ordinances

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

NEW MARKET — Town officials are considering two newly-drafted ordinances that would allow a pawn shop to operate in town.

The Public Safety Committee received its first look at the ordinances during its meeting on Monday, Mayor Doug Bradley said.

Committee members Gary Comer, Peggy Harkness and Vice Mayor John Blosser voted to recommend that Town Council approve the ordinances during its next meeting on May 15, Bradley said.

Ordinance Number 95, called the Precious Metal and Gem Dealer’s Ordinance, outlines the terms by which the town can issue permits and regulate pawn shops and other businesses dealing with gems and precious metals.

Ordinance Number 96, or the Limitation as to the Number of Pawnshops Ordinance, imposes a limit of two pawn shops that can operate in town at once.

Town Attorney Jason Ham wrote the ordinances in April in response to questions from an entrepreneur, according to Town Manager Mike Ritchie.

“We had an inquiry from someone a few weeks back who was interested in locating a business in New Market,” Ritchie said. “He was doing his due diligence because according to state code, you’re required to have a permit from the locality.”

Ritchie declined to name the interested person, and said no paperwork has been filed and no business license has been considered.

“We realized that the town does not have a permit process [for pawn shops],” he said. “We’re trying to be proactive.”

If a pawnbroker wants to set up shop anywhere in the county, Ritchie said, he or she would have to acquire a conditional use permit from either the county or the town in which the store would operate.

Shenandoah County has two pawn shops, both on Woodstock’s Main Street – Woodstock Antiques and Pawn and Kingdom Motors and Pawn Shop.

According to the county code, all prospective pawnbrokers must file a petition with circuit court to apply for a pawnbroker’s license, to be issued by the sheriff.

The county code adds the stipulation that no more than three pawn shops can operate in unincorporated parts of the county.

Virginia law states that pawnbrokers must submit a daily report to the sheriff listing all goods bought and sold the previous day.

Ordinance 95 mandates that pawnbrokers who violate the statutes will be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 1 misdemeanor for each subsequent offense.

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