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Discussion continues on Kalispell pawn shop law


November 2, 2014

The Kalispell City Council tonight will revisit a pawn shop and secondhand store ordinance that has been the topic of heated discussion over the past month.

However, due to a continuing debate over specifics in the ordinance, the council is expected to table the issue indefinitely.

According to Mayor Mark Johnson, the council plans to use several work sessions to perfect the ordinance, which came under scrutiny at the Oct. 6 meeting due to vague language that some local business owners felt left loopholes for who was required to follow the new law, and what exactly they were required to do.

The ordinance would require both pawn shops and secondhand stores to use software called LeadsOnline, which would connect the inventory of those businesses to the Kalispell Police Department. The stores would log their new inventory daily, allowing the police to search for items that have been reported stolen.

One such work session took place last week. Many area pawn and secondhand store owners and their employees attended the meeting to voice concerns. The council will use this first work session as a jumping-off point for break-out sessions that will take place over the coming weeks. The council plans to address key issues point by point in individual sections to rework the wording.

Dates for future work sessions have not been set yet, but will be determined based on the council's action tonight.

The council also will consider a request from Somer's Bay Trading Company, doing business as Captain's Marine, for a planned-unit development to accommodate a boat and trailer sales and repair facility, as well as associated boat storage buildings.

The site is 9.7 acres, located at 3215 U.S. 93 South, on the east side of the highway, south of the intersection with U.S. 93 Alternate Route. The land was annexed by the city in 2008.

The development is intended to take place in three phases, beginning with construction of a boat and trailer sales facility consisting of 14,900 square feet of offices and repair area on the first floor, and 1,800 square feet of offices on the second level. Phase 2 includes construction of one or two boat storage buildings, along with the demolition of several existing residential structures on the property. Finally, Phase 3 will be the construction of another boat storage building.

The application initially was discussed at the Sept. 9 Kalispell Planning Board meeting, but the city staff recommended a condition that any future development beyond the initial phase require a subsequent full planned-unit development application. Since then, the landowner's engineer has submitted a plan illustrating the three-phase development.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Kalispell City Hall.


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