Columbia City Council members gave initial approval Wednesday to a controversial ordinance that would ban payday lenders from operating within a half mile of each other.
But council members questioned the ordinance's provision that bans lenders from operating in buildings smaller than 30,000 square feet and have asked the city's Planning Commission to weigh in on the issue before council gives it final approval.
Councilman Daniel Rickenmann said Columbia shopping centers average between 12,000 square feet and 15,000 square feet. The payday lending industry says the ordinance is an attempt to use local zoning laws to ban the industry in Columbia.
Council members could give the ordinance final approval as early as mid-January.
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- Adam Beam