Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said Tuesday the city was caught between two extremes: homeowners and a business that is "a great corporate citizen." Ultimately, he said, the city worked out a deal that will spur economic development.
The deal included an agreement that Hill Top's current location in a shopping center at 2234 Rawlins St. will be transformed into something other than a pawn shop. That location, near U.S. 78 and Scenic Highway, will become the epicenter of the city's new downtown in the next five years, city leaders said.
"His current location is not conducive to redevelopment of the core downtown," Councilman Tod Warner said. "[The move] gives him a more secure, better income-producing location. It gives the local residents a very low-impact neighbor. It should be win-win-win-win for everybody."
But Councilwoman Kelly Kautz, who voted against the measure, said Tuesday she has received about 50 e-mails from residents against the plan.
"It's disappointing that council didn't listen to the majority of citizens who opposed this," Kautz said. "It's a sad day in Snellville when revitalization efforts center around a 5,500-square-foot pawn shop."
Slifko, who's been in operation in Snellville for the past 16 years, said construction on the brick-and-stucco facility could begin as early as June, with a finish date by year's end. He said he was relieved by the council's decision.
"We're just so happy the city has embraced us and supported us," Slifko said.