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Proposed rule: On-site sales not required for Sharpsburg Main Street retail shops

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Changes likely are coming to requirements for businesses in Sharpsburg.

Council directed Solicitor Mike Witherel to prepare changes to an ordinance that requires businesses in the Main Street business district to be retail operations. Under the change, businesses no longer would be required to sell products at business district locations.

The issue was brought to council's attention after a resident said two businesses in the district — Espresso Catering and Simple Sugars — were not in compliance.

The changes would reflect the changing business environment and also help keep storefronts filled, Councilwoman Karen Pastor said.

“We have enough empty spaces as it is,” Pastor said. “I don't think we need to kill ourselves anymore.”

Though he supports the change, Councilman Lou DeLuca said, businesses need to have a clean appearance.

“Even if they don't sell out the front door, there should be some type of decoration within that front door area,” DeLuca said.

Officials said they don't have any complaints about the Espresso Catering and Simple Sugars sites.

Council President Renee Procopio said she will contact owners of the two businesses to tell them they have to find a way to fit into the current regulations until the change is made.

She said the catering businesses used to sell products directly on site, while the owner of Simply Sugars was not told of the requirements when it moved in. That business sells skin-care products over the Internet.

“While the ordinance is in, they're going to have to do something,” Procopio said.

The requirements give the businesses some leeway, DeLuca said. The two don't have to sell products at their stores; they can take orders at the site if someone comes in.

“It doesn't say you have to have a store. It says you have to sell,” DeLuca said.

Witherel will prepare an update to the current ordinance for officials to review. It will need to be advertised before changes can go into effect.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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