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Top court invalidates ban on check-cashing firms in Hempstead

New York’s top court on Thursday declared invalid a Hempstead zoning law intended to force 25 check-cashing outlets to move to industrial areas from business districts, or to close.

The Court of Appeals, in a 5-0 decision, said Hempstead overstepped its authority when it tried to specifically target check-cashing establishments.

“We hold that a zoning measure that prohibits check cashing establishments in a town's business district is invalid, because it violates the principle that zoning is concerned with the use of land, not with the identity of the user,” Judge Robert Smith wrote for the court.

Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray supported the zoning, saying that check-cashing firms were “by and large predatory” because of the fees they charge.

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