Facing clamorous community opposition, the owner of Estate Pawn Brokers LTD has given up plans to open a pawn shop at Jerusalem Avenue and Williams Street in North Merrick.
Christian Browne, the attorney for Estate’s owner, said earlier this month that his client would likely withdraw her application to the Town of Hempstead’s Board of Zoning Appeals for a “special use permit” to open a pawn shop at that location. Town Councilman Gary Hudes, whose district includes North Merrick, confirmed that Estate’s application was withdrawn.
“I think that’s a very positive thing for the community,” Hudes said. “The residents of the area have been working very, very hard to oppose this application. There was concern it would attract a greater issue with crime associated with pawn shops. I think it was a wise decision to withdraw the application.”
Hudes was one of about 40 people who attended an Aug. 1 meeting at the North Merrick Public Library to discuss Estate’s proposal to open a pawn shop on Jerusalem Avenue. Most at the meeting said they were local residents who did not want to see a pawn shop in their neighborhood.
Hudes, David Denenberg, a Nassau County legislator from Merrick, Randy Shotland, president of the Merrick Chamber of Commerce, and Jonathan Butler, a North Merrick School District Board of Education trustee, said at the meeting that they too opposed the pawn shop opening, as did Mark Schneider, an attorney for Barclay Townhouses II, a housing co-operative directly across Williams Street from the planned-for site of the store. Several people expressed concerns that a pawn shop would attract criminals to the area, create traffic problems, adversely affect local home values and lower North Merrick’s “quality of life.”
Browne said his client wanted to avoid a potentially lengthy legal battle with local residents. Estate’s owner requested that she not be indentified by name, and the Herald Life is respecting that request.