Mesa will become the latest city to discuss tighter restrictions on payday loan stores, which have proliferated on the west side, frustrating residents.
A week after a majority of the City Council said they opposed further regulation, proposals by Tempe and Phoenix to limit the proximity of the stores to one another has Mesa officials worried.
"I don’t want to be the dumping ground for payday loan places," said Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker, who last week said he opposed restricting the stores.
The council discussion is planned for early December.
Thursday night, the Tempe City Council discussed having restrictions on payday loan stores in place by Dec. 2. Tempe’s proposal would force new payday loan stores to be a quarter-mile from each other. Also, the stores would need a city use permit, a process that gives neighbors a greater say. Tempe has 24 payday loan stores.
Phoenix and Tucson also are considering a quartermile separation.
Five years ago, Peoria passed an ordinance that requires a 1,000 feet between payday loan stores, or slightly less than a quarter-mile.
Mesa already requires a council-approved permit and 1,200-foot separation for pawn shops, tattoo parlors and body piercing salons.
Vice Mayor Claudia Walters, who represents northwest Mesa, asked for the council discussion and plans to present the Peoria ordinance.
"I’ve been trying to find a way to do this for the past couple of years, but have lost every vote on the City Council," Walters said.
Councilman Tom Rawles said he continues to oppose additional restrictions, but supports having the discussion. Rawles has received a number of complaints from the Dobson Ranch area, which is in his district.
The payday loan industry entered the state in 2000 after the Arizona Legislature allowed 14-day loans to have an annual interest rate of 459 percent.