Planning and Zoning Meeting Agendas and Minutes

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Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Meeting Agenda

Held at the Donald “red” loehr police and court center
November 4, 2013 • 7:00 P.M.

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AGENDA / briefs

1. Call to Order

2. Approval of Minutes

3. SUE 13-05 – Special Use Exception (Operation of a Financial Business)
Tower Loan of Missouri, 15264 Manchester Rd, Ballwin MO 63011
Petitioner: Mr. John E. Tucker, Tower Loan of Missouri LLC, PO Box 320001, Flowood MS 39232

Tower Loan of Missouri wishes to obtain a special use exception for the operation of a financial business that is regulated by the Missouri Division of finance at 15264 Manchester Rd. Such financial businesses have required the issuance of a special use exception (SUE) since 2008 when the zoning ordinance was amended to require this of all financial institutions regulated by the Missouri Division of Finance. The new zoning regulation imposed a series of design and operational criteria as conditions for the issuance of the SUE.

4. Adjournment

Meeting Minutes

November 4, 2013

The meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission was called to order by Acting Chairman Frank Karr at 7:00 p.m. Members in attendance were:

PRESENT                                                                    ABSENT
(Acting Chairman) Secretary Frank Karr                  Chairman Michael Wind
Commissioner Lynn Goetz                                      Commissioner Chris Wright
Commissioner John Schwent
Commissioner Mike Utt
Commissioner Mark Weaver
Commissioner Lisa Zimmerman
Alderman Michael Boland
Mayor Tim Pogue

Assistant City Administrator/City Planner Thomas Aiken
City Attorney Robert E. Jones

Approval of Minutes
Commissioner Zimmerman amended the minutes on page 1, paragraph 2 under Petition Z 13-10: the first sentence should read, " speak infavor of. . ." A motion was made by Mayor Pogue and seconded by Alderman Boland to approve the minutes of the October 7, 2013 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission as amended . The motion received unanimous approval from the Commission members pre­ sent. Acting Chairman Karr abstained.

SUE 13-05 - Special Use Exception (Operation of a Financial Business)
Tower Loan of Missouri, 15264 Manchester Rd, Ballwin MO 63011
Petitioner: Mr. John E. Tucker, Tower Loan of Missouri LLC, PO Box 320001, Flowood MS 39232

Mr. Danny Glenn, Director of Operations for Tower Loan in the state of Missouri, addressed the Commission, requesting approval for the special use exception in order to open a branch in Ballwin . Mr. Glenn stated that Tower Loan specializes in personal loans and sells financing regulated under Chapters 367 and 408 of the Missouri consumer credit laws. Tower Loan is not a payday or title lender, and does not do cash advances. There is no plan or desire to move into that realm.

Mr. Glenn Kerr, Eastern Missouri Area Supervisor for Tower Loan, presented the proposal. Mr. Kerr stated that the petitioner is proposing the use of a GE Security System, which complies with the security/surveillance requirements of the petition review report. Acting Chairman Karr asked Mr. Glenn if this is the same type of equipment Tower Loan is using in its other banks. Mr. Kerr said that Tower Loan does not use cameras or a safe in any other location.
Alderman Boland said that the Commission should refrain from using the term "bank" in reference to this petitioner. Tower Loan is a consumer finance business, not a bank. Mr. Kerr agreed, saying this is not a depository institution, and all loans are made by check.

Mr. Kerr addressed the issue of the safe, stating that while the petitioner intends to meet the requirement of the ordinance, the TRTL-15 rating is an outdated rating and cannot be found in the United States. It is a rating for vaults. Mr. Kerr said that his safe vendor proposes a TRTL-36 as a comparable substitution. Mr. Kerr said there is generally only $100 in cash on site. If payments are made in cash over a specified amount, that money is deposited at a local bank and not held on site. Mr. Glenn said that regardless of the amount of cash on site, the petitioner will comply as closely as possible with the requirements of the ordinance.

Alderman Boland asked if the ordinance was written to encompass as many financial institutions as pos­ sible. City Attorney Jones said that was the intent, because the city provides services such as police pro­ tection. Financial institutions have a unique set of circumstances that they may require those services.
Alderman Boland asked if Tower Loans accepts cash payments. Mr. Glenn said that while the bulk of the payments are made by check or money order, they do accept cash. Approximately 40% of clients visit the office to make payment. Mr. Glenn said that company policy is that any time there is $10,000 in cash in the branch, a bank deposit is made immediately.

City Attorney Jones noted that the TL-15 is the lowest UL rating for safes. Mr. Kerr said the TL-15 is common; however the TRTL-15 is more difficult to find. City Attorney Jones said that in the past, the City has accepted certification from the provider of the safe indicating that the safe meets or exceeds the requirement of the ordinance. Commissioner Weaver explained how safes are rated and said that all have at least an hour rating.

Commissioner Zimmerman asked the petitioner how they differ from payday loans and who is their typical clientele. Mr. Glenn said that Tower Loan is credit-based. They will not loan money unless the client has the ability to repay it. Their minimum term is 12 months, and there is a scheduled monthly payment. Loan rates are based on risk. Alderman Boland noted that Tower Loan is a consumer finance institution. Do they do first mortgage loans? Mr. Glenn said they do some first mortgages, but predominantly second mortgages. Commissioner Zimmerman asked if these loans would come under the classification of high risk. Mr. Glenn said their mortgage loans do not exceed 120 month terms. Commissioner Zimmerman asked if these loans are made to individuals who cannot go through conventional means and have a high risk of default. Mr. Glenn and Mr. Kerr said that is the case, but Tower Loan's losses have not been too bad, because they are very conservative regarding real estate lending.

Mr. Kerr addressed the issue of Tower Loan's customer base. Typically, loans are made between $1000- $3000. They provide a service for clients who fall between those needing payday loans, and those who can obtain a loan through a bank.

Acting Chairman Karr asked how Tower Loan advertises. Mr. Glenn said there are two vehicles for ad­ vertising: they provide sales financing for local appliance and furniture stores to establish a relationship with residents of the community, and they mail convenience checks to pre-screened individuals. Acting Chairman Karr asked how the public will know how they are at their location, since the windows need to be clear of obstruction. Mr. Glenn said they use standard retail style signage for their storefront. Mr. Kerr asked if they would be required to provide emergency lighting for the safe area in the event of a power outage. City Attorney Jones said that the ordinance requires the area around the safe to be lit at all times of darkness.

Commissioner Zimmerman asked about the hours of operation. Mr. Kerr said that on Monday and Friday, the hours are 8:30 am - 6:30 pm, Tuesday-Thursday from 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Saturday from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm (if needed), and closed on Sunday. Acting Chairman Karr asked how many employees would be on site. Mr. Kerr said there would be a manager, manager trainee, and a customer service repre­ sentative. Mr. Glenn said there is usually one employee for every 200-270 accounts. As they grow, the staff will increase .

Acting Chairman Karr asked about the anticipated opening date. Mr. Glenn said they have contractors standing by, and can open approximately two weeks after receiving approval.

Commissioner Zimmerman asked about the security of Tower Loan's technology and how they will safe­ guard their clients' personal information. Mr. Kerr said that they have locking file cabinets, and have strict policies in place for handling of client information. Ms. Zimmerman asked about computer equipment and vetting of employees. Mr. Glenn said they take consumer privacy very seriously, and have nev­ er had a complaint. Their computer files are on an intranet.

Acting Chairman Karr declared the public hearing open, and asked if anyone wished to speak in opposi tion to Petition SUE 13-05.

Mr. Mark Harder, 542 Lering Ct, Ward 2 Alderman, believes that Ballwin has allowed too many payday and title loan businesses. He feels this type of business will have an adverse effect on Ball­ win's business district. He would like to change the law to limit and roll back the number of this type of business.

No one else came forward. Acting Chairman Karr asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of the petition.

Ms. Lily Seymour, representing the landlord, Gershman Commercial Real Estate, said that Gershman has turned down payday loan companies for tenancy in the past. She feels that Tower Loan is not a business of this nature.

No one else came forward, and Acting Chairman Karr declared the public hearing closed.

Commissioner Weaver stated that he performs work as a locksmith for Gershman Properties. City Attorney Jones said that Commissioner Weaver should recuse himself and not vote on this matter.

Commissioner Goetz asked what Tower Loan's Better Business Bureau rating is for the state of Missouri. Mr. Kerr said he is unaware of the rating. Mr. Glenn said that he believes it is a C rating; but feels that the negative feedback comes from clients who are delinquent in their payments. Commissioner Goetz asked Alderman Harder for his definition of payday loan. Mr. Harder defined it as a short-term loan un­ der $10,000 that requires very little collateral.

Alderman Boland stated that the petitioner is not a payday lender as defined by the state of Missouri. A payday lender makes a loan against an individual's next paycheck . This is a consumer finance company.

Mayor Pogue asked Mr. Kerr if he will be able to provide documentation regarding the safe, equipment, and lighting to be used, should the petition receive a positive recommendation from the Planning & Zon­ ing Commission. Mr. Kerr said will be able to do so.

Alderman Boland made a motion to recommend approval of Petition SUE 13-05 to the Board of Alder­ men, provided the petitioner provides the additional documentation regarding the safe, the lighting, and the security system. Commissioner Goetz seconded the motion. A voice vote was taken with the following results: Aye - Utt, Schwent, Goetz, Karr, Pogue, and Boland, Nay - Zimmerman, Abstain - Weaver. The motion passed 6-1.

Other Business
Mayor Pogue said MoDOT will hold an informational public meeting on the Great Streets Manchester Road repaving project on Thursday, November 14 at the Wildwood City Hall. It will run from 4:00-7:00p.m. and will have an open house format. Engineers will be on hand to answer any questions. City Planner Aiken said the only agenda item for December is the 2014 Capital Budget review.

A motion was made by Commissioner Weaver and seconded by Mayor Pogue to adjourn the meeting. The motion received unanimous approval, and the meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Frank Karr, Acting Chairman Planning & Zoning Commission