About 50 residents from the Summer Brooke and Summer Stream neighborhoods gathered Monday to hear the latest developments with a controversial pawn shop.
City officials admit they were wrong when Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan was allowed to open in the Mack Dobbs Point strip mall last year, despite a 2004 agreement prohibiting pawn shops from the property.
Now city officials are weighing possible solutions to the issue, which was brought to light by Kennesaw resident Bill Harris.
"We approved this application erroneously, and it's a very unfortunate oversight," said Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews. "We're taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen again."
A hearing is scheduled for April 2 at the 6:30 p.m. city council meeting, and Mathews said one of three things can be done at that meeting: 1) Find no fault; 2) suspend the business license for a period of time and the business would close; or 3) revoke the license.
At Monday's meeting, a Summer Brooke resident said a petition has been signed by 75 of 112 residents wanting the pawn shop removed from the strip mall.
Nancy Johnson of Kennesaw spoke on behalf of pawn shop owners Serena and John Cruchelow. She said he hated to see their hard work and investment closed down.
"They couldn't come and defend themselves right now, so somebody has to tell their side," said Johnson, adding the Cruchelows put $18,000 toward renovations in the building. "These are two good people trying to start a business."
Mayor Mathews said the name violation alone was a serious matter and the pawn shop was in the wrong by having used the term 'Jewelry and Loan' when the Georgia Code completely bars that 'Loan' usage for any pawn shops opened after 1992.
Most in attendance said they had no ill will toward the pawn shop owners, but were angry at the strip mall owner, Celestino Venturi, for going against what he agreed to in 2004.
Mathews said there will be a winner and a loser in the situation. "I apologize to all of our residents," said Mathews, adding a solution will come as quickly as legally possible. "That's not the way we do business. We don't hide from our problems."
Read more about the circumstances and history surrounding the pawn shop issue here.