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Check into Cash of Mississippi Inc. v. City of Jackson

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 10, 2015

CHECK INTO CASH OF MISSISSIPPI INC., APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/05/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. TOMIE T. GREEN. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED DECISION TO DENY USEPERMIT APPLICATION.

FOR APPELLANT: JAMES A. PEDEN JR.

FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY RONELL BURNETT, GAIL WRIGHT LOWERY.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 1253

GRIFFIS, P.J.

¶1. Check Into Cash of Mississippi Inc. (" CICM" ) appeals the City of Jackson's decision to deny a use permit. The use permit would allow CICM to engage in the title-pledge business at its current payday-loan location. This Court finds reversible error as to the first issue and renders a judgment in favor of CICM.

FACTS

¶2. Check Into Cash, Inc., is a consumer-financial-services company. Its primary business is payday advances.[1] In exchange for money, a payday advance accepts the customer's personal check and agrees to defer presentment until after the expiration of a short holding period. Check Into Cash has numerous locations throughout the southeastern United States. In addition to payday advances, Check Into Cash also provides its customers installment, title, and pawn loans; check-cashing services; prepaid debit cards; bill-payment services; wire-transfer services; and ATM access at its local offices.

¶3. At its locations in Mississippi, Check Into Cash does business through its subsidiary, CICM. CICM operates in twenty-seven locations in twenty-four cities throughout Mississippi. CICM operates three locations in the City of Jackson.

¶4. Since 2001, CICM has operated location at Metro Junction Shopping Center, 4896 Highway 18 West, Jackson, Mississippi. At this location, CICM is authorized to make payday advances. CICM sought to expand its services and offer title-pledge services.[2] On May 19, 2011, the Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance issued CICM a license, under the Mississippi Title

Page 1254

Pledge Act, to offer title-pledge loans at this location.

¶5. In 2006, the City of Jackson amended its zoning ordinance. Based on the amended ordinance, CICM's location is in the C-3 General Commercial District. Before the amendment, title-pledge-loan businesses were not permitted. The amendment allowed title-pledge lending through a use-permit process. Jackson Zoning Ordinance § 702.05.l(a).21. Similarly, section 702.05.l(a).11 allows payday-advance/check-cashing operations through the use-permit process in the C-3 General Commercial District. However, the amendment allowed CICM's existing payday-advance operation to continue as a lawful nonconforming use without a use permit.

¶6. Section 202.175 defines a " use permit" as " [a] use which is not permitted by right but which is allowed in certain zoning districts, usually subject to conditions . . . as regulated by the provisions of this Ordinance." Based on section 1701.02-A, the use-permit requirements are as follows:

When considering application for use permits, the City Council shall consider the extent to which:
1. The proposed use is compatible with the character and development in the vicinity relative to density, bulk and intensity of structures, parking, and other uses;
2. The proposed use will not be detrimental to the continued use, value, or development of properties in the vicinity;
3. The proposed use will not adversely affect vehicular or pedestrian traffic in the vicinity;
4. The proposed use can be accommodated by existing or proposed public services and facilities, including, but not limited to, water, sanitary sewer, streets, ...

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