Pawnshop has neighbors seeing red in Kennesaw
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@mdjonline.com
March 15, 2012 12:24 AM | 7911 views | 38 38 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan, which is located in the Mack Dobbs Point shopping complex at the corner of Cobb Parkway and Mack Dobbs Road, was recently granted a pawnshop license erroneously. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan, which is located in the Mack Dobbs Point shopping complex at the corner of Cobb Parkway and Mack Dobbs Road, was recently granted a pawnshop license erroneously.
Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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KENNESAW — Some Kennesaw residents are livid that the city allowed a pawnshop to open in a shopping center near their neighborhood, despite a 2004 agreement that would keep certain kinds of businesses out of the area.

Bill Harris said he and his neighbors in the Summer Stream subdivision off Mack Dobbs Road reached an agreement with the city in 2004 about what kinds of businesses would be allowed in a new shopping center next to their neighborhood.

But in September, city officials approved a business license for Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan in the Mack Dobbs Point shopping center on North Cobb Parkway at Mack Dobbs Road, exactly the type of business residents wanted kept out.

In his website devoted to the issue, kennesawpawnproblems.blogspot.com, Harris writes that he and other residents found out in the fall of 2004 about plans to rezone the 2.9-acre development from residential to business.

Meetings were organized with developer Celestino Venturi by nearby residents to stop the rezoning, but an agreement was eventually reached with city officials to prohibit certain types of businesses in the new development, such as adult bookstores, massage parlors and pawnshops.

“Residents concerns were at that point more towards just what would go on that parcel, which was next to the northern end of our development,” Harris wrote. “We had expressed our opinions to Mr. Venturi and some of us attended the October 4, 2004, Kennesaw City Council meeting where quite a lot of time was devoted to the zoning change. In fact, of the 33 pages of minutes of that meeting, 14 pages had to do with the zoning change.

“Mr. Venturi and his Marietta land use/zoning attorney Mr. Garvis Sams gave assurances that many types of undesirable businesses would not be built on this property. The assurances were both written and oral and were in great detail incorporated into the minutes of the meeting.”

According to minutes from the city council’s Sept. 19 meeting, city finance director Gina Auld recommended the City Council approve a pawn and precious metal license for Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan, submitted by John and Serena Cruchelow. Mayor Mark Mathews called for a vote on the application, which was approved unanimously, according to the minutes. The license was approved in December.

City officials acknowledge making a mistake in approving the license.

“It’s just one of those things that was an oversight by our zoning department, and we’re trying to work through it,” Mathews said Wednesday. “We’ve been in contact with (Bill Harris) multiple times, as well as the business owner and others. We’re trying to work through it as best we can and see what options are out there.”

City Manager Steve Kennedy said the city is evaluating options regarding the pawnshop, which opened this year.

“One would be to have them move,” he said. “Another one would be to do a temporary revision to the zoning stipulations from 2004, that would allow the pawn shop to be there for just this one time and any future applications would not be honored, and other combinations of suggestions.”

A tax service, a children’s consignment store, a nail spa, a battery store and an AT&T store occupy other storefronts in the shopping center

On March 8, Kennedy and city zoning administrator Darryl Simmons met with Harris to explain that the zoning approval to allow the pawn store was processed in error by the city’s planning and zoning staff. They said they would look into meeting with other area residents to answer questions and receive feedback regarding the matter.

A date for that meeting has not been set, according to the city.

“The worst answer for area residents is if they just give them a variance and allow them to remain,” Harris said. “The next business that wants to locate there and is blocked from doing it would then be able to say, correctly, ‘Well you gave them a variance to remain, and we want one also.’ So perhaps we end up with some adult book store or massage parlor because the city decided to let this pawn shop slide.”

Business owner John Cruchelow did not comment when questioned by the Journal about whether he knew of the prior agreement between residents and the city regarding the property.

Venturi, the developer, said he preferred to abstain from making any public comments until he meets with city officials to discuss future plans for his property.
Comments
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grannyroses
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March 26, 2012
We are one of the original owners of this subdivision. When we moved it we knew the Green Top Hotel was there, but subsequently the other stay by the week hotel was built. For a period of time it was infested with sexual offenders. We as a neighborhood ban together to move that element our of our backyard.

We bought in the sub because it was easy access to 41 and across the street from our church. The noise was blocked because of the woods and the strip of land in question was zoned residential. An error was made to rezone back to General Commercial. When the error was discover in 2004 >>> 3 years AFTER the neighborhood was complete<<< is when the meetings took place between the land owner and our neighborhood.

An agreement was reached and should stand. Mr. Venturi knew full well the zoning restrictions. He should be gracious to help the people relocate and recoop the cost of starting their business. Yes, the City of Kennesaw should look at all responsible and revisit the cost they have brought around the necks of the tax payers.

Bottom line... they need to be closed or they need to change to a gun shop or a jewelry store. I nor do my neighbors hold them at ill will, but we believe we have enough transient businesses around us. Kennesaw wants to focus on being a FAMILY COMMUNITY... then they should look to invite family friendly businesses into the city limits.

I am truly sorry for the new owners. I am sure Roy Barnes will be happy to take on a new case.
B H 2
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March 22, 2012
Even the name of the Pawn business is illegal in Georgia.

Georgia Code - Property - Title 44, Section 44-12-138

(a)(1) Any pawnbroker as defined in paragraph (2) of Code Section 44-12-130 shall include most prominently in any and all types of advertisements the word 'pawn' or the words 'pawn transaction.' A pawnbroker shall not use the term 'loan' in any advertisements or in connection with any advertising of the business of the pawnbroker; provided, however, that the provisions of this sentence shall not apply to a pawnbroker in business on March 1, 1992, which uses the term 'loan' in connection with the name of the business or with advertising of the business.
Aaron S
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March 19, 2012
Hey JVD, glad you went by in person, too bad it was closed. If you want to actually go inside you should do it asap as they will be closing soon.
JVD
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March 19, 2012
After reading this article I actually stopped by the Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan on Sunday. They were closed but the owners were there working and I spoke to them briefly. The store is VERY nice and clean! We should be glad they are there and support them. Let's get real people and get a life for some others.
KSUsed
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March 17, 2012
Yep....things be a changing....but I have noted that ever since the 'university' that everyone has deemed 'so important' started growing, we be a changing....if you have a problem with the zoning of Kennesaw you need to look at your politicians (the ones who move the city limits to gain revenue and then rezone for more taxes)....you see no 'pawn shops and hookah lounges' in other parts of the county...haven't seen that problem in west or east cobb.....hmmmmm
Ken Lamb
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March 16, 2012
Get real people. With today's ecomomy if you can get a business opened up in a shopping center, then you need to take it and be happy. If it was a strip joint I would agree with you but not with a pawn shop.
Real Talk
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March 16, 2012
This is funny. Who cares about a pawn shop? It's not like there's a MARTA station close by, so the undesirables won't flock to it.

Me thinks "old Kennesaw" is just upset it isn't another church. Certainly enough of those in the area.
Kennesaw Resident
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March 16, 2012
I beleive I would prefer the pawn shop over the 3 Hookah lounges that are located with 5 tenths of a mile from my house. I know of 5 within a mile. Is Kennesaw trying to fill a quota or something??
Be Careul
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March 16, 2012
This has nothing to do with Rebublican/Democrat.

The citizens of the neighborhood negotiated with the city for the zoning of a shopping center to be built adjacent to the preexisting neighborhood. That is allowed and proper. The citizens followed all the rules and procedures and they came to an agreement with the city. There is nothing wrong with that on any level.

The problem is, the owner of the shopping center, knowing it wasn't zoned for pawn shops, rented to a pawn shop. The city then made a mistake and issued the permit.

The mistake needs to be corrected. The previously established zoning needs to be enforced and the shop closed. Any damages need to be paid by the owner of the center, who KNEW he was violating the zoning agreement by renting to the pawn shop.

Why does an issue like this always turn into rich vs poor, conservative vs liberal? I'm sure the entire population of that neighborhood isn't rich or republican.

And to all those saying the store owners rights are being violated....opening a business is a priveledge, not a right.
FilthyLiberal
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March 16, 2012
I thought Cobb County was filled to the brim with "free market" Republicans who want no government intervention in their lives. Yet, when it's convenient and self-serving, conservatives want the government to step in and make these types of agreements.

Would Bill Harris prefer this shopping center remain one of many empty, blighted retail areas in Kennesaw?
Bill Harris
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March 24, 2012
There are 9 other shops open in that mall, 2 occupy double units (2 wide) while there are 2 units unrented there isn't any shortage of tenants now.

Mr Venturi, the property owner, also has a nice 11-12 yr old mall in Acworth on Cobb Pky, it also has a couple of vacant units but it isn't 'empty or blighted' and neither is the Kennesaw one. So frankly your argument is worthless.
The Observer
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March 15, 2012
This is what happens when you build shopping centers too close to each other. Too much room is left for undesirable businesses to fill in. Yet another bad thing Matthews has allowed to happen, something Mayor Church wouldn't have done before. And now, this issue has hit my neighborhood, and promises have been broken.
Former Resident
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March 15, 2012
The Mayor and Council knew full well what they were doing when they issued the license. Its called revenue and filling an empty building. The Mayor and Council play by their rules, not anyone else's. Look at Cherokee Street, McCollum Pkwy and Big Shanty Road area - residential next to HI and LI and Commercial - no matter what was done/said/written years ago or where it was written.
CandiceRoberts61
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March 15, 2012
I think all of this is beyond ridiculous!!! What seems to be the problem??? This is a very nice young couple that have a very nice establishment. How many of you have actually taken the time to visit this business of any of the other businesses? It is simply appalling to me that we sit around and complain about small businesses like this one because you are so quick to judge and deem this in the same category as a "massage parlor" aka brothel! REALLY PEOPLE!!!

BILL and other judgemental hypocrites GO GET A LIFE PLEASE!!!
Kennesaw Resident
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March 16, 2012
The problem is that even if they have a nice business, you have opened the door for other not so nice businesses to follow. The qulaity of life in Cobb is taking a dive and the taxes are going up.
Chumlee
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March 15, 2012
What's the big deal about a pawnshop???
30144
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March 15, 2012
"What's the big deal about a pawnshop???"

Maybe the area residents think that when they dropped their opposition to rezoning with a promise that certain types of usage would not be allowed that this would last longer than 8 years??? See I can use 3 question marks also.
TJ22
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March 15, 2012
". . . who buys a house behind a strip mall and then complains what goes in it?" Tex James

========================================

The 54 houses were all here for years before the strip mall was built in 2006-7. All homes here were built and purchased when that property was just an overgown lot with a residential zoning for it.

I purchased here in 2001 and did not expect a strip mall to go up. Also this is NOT a gated development.

I have noticed that you have a lot to say, a good bit, like this, has been wrong. I suppose it would be too much to ask that you get things right before you rush off to post something.
Tex james
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March 15, 2012
No you are wrong. Why by a house 50 yards off 41 when there are already tons of shabby establishments there. Then a guy comes in and opens a new business and you want to gripe. Sounds like you don't know how to buy real estate to me. Sorry Charlie.

Plus dont tell me about 15 years ago. I have been here almost 25. So I know the deal around here.
area resident
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March 15, 2012
I don't see this as a big complicated issue.

The pawn shop should get 90 days to move and the City needs to refund EVERY cent they paid. The City was wrong to issue the permit or license for them to open.

Lou Ann Poovey
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March 15, 2012
Rules? In Kennesaw. Why bother? I used to live in Legacy Park in Kennesaw. We fought tooth and nail with the city to keep out that drive-through fast food shop outside the subdivision's entrance. You know, the one that went belly up 6 months after it opened 8-9 years ago and the last time I saw it still looked like the entrance to a ghost town. We saw where the bread was buttered in that town and moved shortly after that. Kennesaw does not get my taxes anymore.
CandiceRoberts61
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March 15, 2012
Oh Heavens to Betsy... how eva did you survive such a catastrophic event???? I'm so glad your okay now.

Wow
Nancy Johnson
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March 15, 2012
I personally know the people that own this shop. Bill, I would like to ask you if you have ever been to their facility. This is not some scummy pawn shop that caters to the "rough" crowd, it is a reputable establishment catering to a nice community with excellent products. This couple is attempting to live the American dream of owning their own business and are great and fair at what they do. I think it is ludicrous to judge a book by it's cover and place a stigma on the label of pawn shop, it's ignorant.

Another fact that you are neglecting is that they had absolutely no knowledge of this agreement that your neighborhood made. They followed every letter of the law to obtain licensing and permitting through the city and the state to start their company. They have invested so much into this endeavor and now through no fault of their own are being subjected to your narrow-minded degradation of their business and establishment when more than likely you haven't even stepped foot in the shop. I suggest that like Tex said you take a good look at the long term suites instead of these good people as to any problem with the character of people around your neighborhood.
Cee Mack
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March 15, 2012
Ms. Johnson-

You aren't helping your friend's case by taking it out on Mr. Harris. He did everything in HIS power to follow the rules and gets nothing in return for it except what he didn't want in the first place. That and a lame "it's just one of those things" from the city. As Mr. Harris worked on it from his end nearly 8 years ago, I would suggest that the city work with teh city to make Mr. Harris and his neighbors whole. This can only scare all of us who try to do right and follow the rules.
Tex James
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March 15, 2012
Wow Bill! You are one angry man! No I am not the owner. I am just a guy who hates to see small business people picked on by government doofuses and nosy neighbors. Pawn brokerage is a respectable business and this is unconstitutional at best and an outright violation of their rights at worst. You see the city of Kennesaw is to blame here. Not the business. You really believe you can open up shop without a ton of vetting by the City? I agree. Make them move. However the City of Kennesaw and is responsible to cover any and all costs for the move. Thats just what honest upstanding folks do when they make mistakes. I say let them stay and go by and get to know your neighbors instead of whining and complaining.
At Bob Bummer
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March 15, 2012
What's a raise. Haven't seen those in Kennesaw in almost 5 years.
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