Commentary: Vehicle-title loan: Revitalization fibs

This commentary has covered the moral implications, political handouts, predatory lending at 220 percent and now  land use in a revitalization area.

The Chesterfield County planning department and a revitalization committee has decided that nothing south of Route 288 on Jefferson Davis Highway needs any incentive for improvement. The director of planning said, “You have that new Food Lion down there and the new restaurants.”

A document called “Analysis of the Jefferson Davis Highway Revitalization Program” from 2008 shows the revitalization area extending south of Route 288 to Route 10. A vehicle title lender is precluded from locating in a revitalization area.

This new revitalization committee is suggesting changes to the revitalization area, but the eight-page synopsis has yet to be approved by the Board of Supervisorss or been totally vetted by the public.

If you think, well, 2008 was five years ago and things change in that amount of time, remember that from the time the new comprehensive plan was bid on by a planning contractor; the new plan was developed and then trashed and a new one authored by the planning commission, etc., those five years passed by quickly and totally.

The area remains a revitalization area. Vehicle title lenders are not allowed  in revitalization areas. We can’t believe that we could be led astray by our own county? If it’s not a revitalization area, then why is it on the revitalization map and study right on the Chesterfield’s internet site for the whole world to see?  Go to www.chesterfield.gov/content2.aspx?id=12795  and click on “Revitalization program and Analysis” and there it is on page 3.

I will admit that much of the analysis focuses north of Route 288, but that area is moving slowly along as well. Colony Village LLC is completing a really nice apartment/retail complex there. The Winchester Green project is very nice and has lightened the load of revitalization on the “Pike.” A new visitor’s center and a historical trail complex is in the works. The folks involved in the Jefferson Davis Association have done a great job there.

For almost 7/8 of a mile south of 288, there is a mishmash of very old,and somewhat new buildings.

The Chester Maisonettes, six clapboard sided and cinder-block buildings, averaging 65 years old, the former denture office/car lot (now vacant,) a mobile home sales company, a thrift store and four auto parts companies.

The irony present, on that section of road, would be funny if it wasn’t so terrible.

A man buys a used car at one of several used car lots opposite the proposed title lender location. He has problems with the car and has to buy a new part to fix it. He can’t afford it so he goes to the convenient car title lender to pay for the part. He becomes late on the payment and LoanMax takes his car. The following week the car is up for auction. The same dealer who sold the car initially, buys the car at auction and the cycle begins again.

LoanMax is not appropriate as a free standing predatory lender at the corner of Jeff Davis and Osborne Road. It would be in a revitalization area and would destroy other opportunities for business revitalization there. Stop it now.

Go to http://signthepetition.org, Also please attend the Board of Supervisors public hearing on Sept. 18 at 6:30; express your opinion or just attend in support or email your supervisor at jaeckled@chesterfield.gov, elswicks@chesterfield.gov, geckerd@chesterfield.gov, warrena@chesterfield.gov or hollandj@chesterfield.gov.

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