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East Columbus neighbors fight back against plans to open check cashing store

Members of the Eastmoor Civic Association and Block Watch don't want a check cashing store opening at the intersection of East Broad Street and South James Road. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Members of the Eastmoor Civic Association and Block Watch don't want a check cashing store opening at the intersection of East Broad Street and South James Road.

The group spoke at a meeting of the City of Columbus Board of Zoning Adjustment Tuesday night about the plans.

"My little girl said to me tonight as I left, she said 'go win, Mommy,'" said Eastmoor Civic Association and Block Watch President Michelle Santuomo.

Santuomo gathered with neighbors at the meeting, addressing the board about the intersection.

"We wanted it to be welcoming whenever we made the Main Street Broad Street Corridor Revitalization Plan with the City in 2006," she said.

The intersection is empty and neighborhood advocates said they want to see a store that fits with that neighborhood plan in place.

"It is not for every neighborhood and it is definitely not for ours," she said.

But PL$ Cash, told ABC6/FOX28 that they have 8,000 customers in this ZIP Code.

Lawyers for the developers asked the board Monday night to allow them to alter parts of their plan that don't match with the city code, like upping the number of parking spaces. The board was responsible for approving or denying those variances.

PL$ said they do good business and are more than willing to work with neighborhood groups.

Ultimately, all three board members voted no on the request to add parking spaces and more. The company said they are working on their next step.

The Assistant Director of Building and Zoning Services for the City said the lot at the corner is zoned for commercial business, and that any neighborhood plans like the one for the Eastmoor neighborhood are guidelines.

"Board of Zoning Adjustment is strictly whether they are going to allow those variances or not," said the Assistant Director Anthony J. Celebrezze.

He told ABC 6/FOX 28 that he understands some neighbors frustrations, but this could be an issue to bring to City Council.

For Santuomo, it is a win for now.

The intersection is zoned as a commercial area with check cashing stores allowed by city code.

PL$ said as a commercial business they have a right to build and be a part of the community.

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