By SCOTT JACKSON
The city’s licensing board rejected a proposal to open a pawn shop in Quincy Point after more than two dozen residents and the neighborhood’s ward councillor voiced their opposition to the store.
Roman Vynnytski went before the Board of License Commissioners Tuesday to seek a pawnbroker’s license and an old gold/silver license for the proposed store, Golden Circle Pawn. The business would have been located inside the strip mall at 503 Washington St., in the storefront most recently home to Pet Gossip.
Vynnytski said the store would have operated similar to the one featured on the television show “Pawn Stars,” where people could buy or sell second-hand items such as jewelry, electronics and music. Customers looking to sell items would have to fill out the necessary paperwork and present a valid ID. The item and the ID would both be photographed, and the store would send a list of the items it acquired to Quincy police on a daily basis.
Vynnytski has operated a similar pawn shop in Falmouth for seven years. He submitted letters in support of his application from a Mashpee police sergeant and the Falmouth patrolmen’s association.
“We’ve been working with them over time on any investigation,” Vynnytski said. “They’re welcome to check in on any items, if they are stolen or not.”
Nine residents and Ward 2 Councillor Brad Croall spoke against the proposal at the meeting, and board members received letters from 19 others expressing their opposition to Vynnytski’s request.
Jack Mayo, a Claremont Avenue resident, said Quincy Point was once home to many “less-than-savory establishments,” but the area has changed in recent years. A pawn shop, he said, would be a step backwards.
“When someone says pawn shop to me, I think Combat Zone, Downtown Boston,” Mayo said. “I think it’s disgusting that we would even consider in this city doing anything like this.”
Germain Avenue resident Veronica Hillery expressed a similar sentiment.
“It’s really come away from what I remember it as,” she said of Quincy Point. “I’m totally against this. It will do absolutely nothing for the area or the people in it.”
Michael Lorenzano, a Germain Avenue resident and middle school health teacher, said he was worried the pawn shop could attract people desperate to make quick money to purchase illicit drugs.
“We work really hard as a community to fight this opioid epidemic that we’re dealing with,” he said. “As a kid, I remember growing up and in the back of that strip mall seeing people overdosing…I’m afraid that’s going to happen again.”
Croall, the neighborhood’s ward councillor, said he is supportive of the business community but could not support the application for the pawn shop given the neighborhood opposition.
“I have always – and I know you have always – been supportive of the business community and my plan is – when it makes sense in the neighborhoods for the constituents that I represent – to be supportive,” Croall said.
“But in this case I heard what you heard, which was quite a declaration of this type of business is going in the opposite direction as to where we’re trying to advance the community down in Quincy Point. With that, I would respectfully ask that you all consider voting no on this application.”
In response to the residents’ concerns, Vynnytski said pawn shops were problematic 10 or 20 years ago, but the industry has changed for the better since then.
“It’s a completely whole new industry,” he said. “It’s well monitored by local authorities and the state.”
The board voted 5-0 against the request to open the pawn shop.
Health Commissioner Drew Scheele, the board’s chairman, said he believed Vynnytski has a good concept and a good reputation at his store in Falmouth. Scheele, however, said he could not recall a proposal receiving such a strong opposition from residents.
“It sounds like you have a really good concept. It sounds like you’ve done a good job down in Falmouth. I do hear every single neighbor here and I’ve never had this many people actually come to a meeting and this many letters,” Scheele said.
“When I listen to all the neighbors, some of what they say I agree with, some I don’t agree with it, but it’s their neighborhood.”
City Clerk Nicole likewise said she could not vote in favor of the application given the neighborhood’s opposition to it.
“I do believe you run a good business,” she said. “I agree with the chairman that this isn’t the location for it.”
Scheele suggested Vynnytski consider a location in Quincy Center, noting that two jewelry stores in the area already have pawnbrokers’ licenses. Vynnytski said he would take a look at other properties.