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Ossining Board: No Choice on Allowing Pawnbrokers

OSSINING, N.Y. – Before the Village of Ossining Board of Trustees considers a vote later this month on allowing pawnshops in Ossining, Deputy Mayor John Codman wants residents to be clear on one thing – the village board members aren’t happy about it either.

“I’m not satisfied that we’re going to have pawnbrokers in Ossining,” Codman said Tuesday during the board’s work session. “That would not be my preference for a licensed business to take place here.”

The board of trustees heard from concerned residents previously on the consideration of a new local law to allow licensing to pawnbrokers. Corporation Counsel Lori Lee Dickson said Tuesday that a business approached the board last November that was interested in opening a pawnshop. The business asked the board to consider a license under general business law, but the village doesn’t have provisions on its books. Dickson said a state statute requires businesses looking to obtain a “Collateral Loan Broker” license to obtain one from the local licensing authority.

That interest started the process that board members say offers little decision making on the board’s part.

“We don’t really have a choice here,” Trustee Bob Daraio said. “The state has set down very narrow parameters for village boards in regard to businesses like pawnshops. We don’t get to tell them they can’t come here. The only thing we can do is make sure they’re in a place where that business can be safe and the people of Ossining can be safe and where the police officers who provide the security can also be safe. That’s it.”

Dickson said the proposed license would allow pawnbrokers in the business district area of the Route 9 corridor in the village in compliance with a previous planning board decision. Board members agreed verbally Tuesday night to “move forward” to voting on the resolution during an upcoming regular meeting.

Trustee Marlene Cheatham said she was also not happy with the situation.

“I don’t think anyone on the board is jumping up and down about having a pawnbroker in the village of Ossining,” Cheatham said. “Our village offices have worked hard at getting this legislation together to give us the best possible outcome on this.”

Mayor William Hanauer agreed, adding his praise for village officials' work on the process.

“It’s a very highly emotional issue,” Hanauer said. “I think all of us have had contact with people in the village who are concerned about this and I think they need to be aware of the reality of the state law and aware that we’re taking great pains to make sure that the village is not going to be affected in a bad way by this.”

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