Editorials

Belleville law for stores selling second-hand stuff is just junk

Belleville decided to limit second-hand stores to 10, with only two allowed in the downtown area. Here volunteers at the Community Kindness Resale Shoppe handle donations.
Belleville decided to limit second-hand stores to 10, with only two allowed in the downtown area. Here volunteers at the Community Kindness Resale Shoppe handle donations. snagy@bnd.com

Municipal leaders don’t like too many pawn shops or payday loan stores because of what it says about their community: Poor economy, bottom-feeding businesses. They often turn to limits as a way to discourage them.

Apparently Belleville is also worried about what too many thrift stores says about the community. Aldermen on Monday voted 12-3 to limit the number to 10, and only two of those can be downtown.

So what if Belleville merchants decided to capitalize on the historic charm of an area? Would city leaders object to another Cherokee Street or St. Charles or Kimmswick antique district? Apparently.

Unless they decide to change the number. Alderman Roger Wigginton said they can boost the number to 20 if they wish.

Which begs the question: Why impose a limit to begin with?

It appears the real problem was that a few shops were leaving their wares outside 24-7. Instead of asking that they stop junking up the neighborhood, Belleville expands a registration and fee system.

Again, we write laws that inconvenience the many because there were problems with a few that we didn’t just address with the old laws.

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