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Commissioners ratify occupancy permit to Elizabeth Township florist

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 1:36 a.m.

Elizabeth Township commissioners this week ratified a permit that was issued to a florist to sell flowers at a stand for the Easter holiday.

The board approved the temporary occupancy permit it issued to Johnston the Florist one day after the holiday had passed. The flower merchant had operated a stand at the BP gas station.

The action raised questions among board members about such permitting.

Township zoning enforcement officer James Matscherz said the municipality did not and has never collected the $50 fee for the permit from the florist.

“In the past, we've never charged,” Matscherz said.

He said the original rationale behind not collecting the fee may have been that the stand was operating as a convenience to township residents. Matscherz said other vendors have been charged the fee.

“We need to send them a bill,” Commissioner Joanne Beckowitz said.

Township solicitor Pat McGrail said that would occur.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to approve the ratification.

Commissioner Claire Bryce, who owns the floral shop Flowers With Imagination, cast the no vote.

“I own a flower shop in the township. OK? That's why I voted no. I mean, they only come in here for the holidays. Right? That's the only time. Easter. Mother's Day. Thanksgiving. Christmas. You know, I pay taxes. I'm here all the time. OK? That's why,” Bryce said.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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