Sharpsburg zoning issued raised

February 03, 1997


Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - Former Sharpsburg Mayor Ron Milburn questioned Monday night whether three town officials were following zoning laws or ignoring them to serve their own interests.

Milburn asked the town's attorney why Mayor George Kesler is allowed to run a business that Milburn considers "fast food," when a bid to open a pizza and sub shop in a building owned by Milburn was rejected because it would be considered fast food.

Last November, the Sharpsburg Board of Appeals voted 2-1 to reject a request to open the shop on Main Street because two board members didn't think the shop could conform to requirements that at least two-thirds of the food be consumed at the restaurant.


Until a year ago, there was no place to eat at Kesler's Sharpsburg General Store, so all of the food was carry-out, Milburn said.

Kesler would not comment about Milburn's statements after Monday night's mayor and Town Council meeting.

He did ask Town Attorney Charles Wagaman to investigate Milburn's complaints, including the one about Kesler's own business.

Milburn raised his complaints after council members discussed a zoning violation involving the New Central Restaurant around the corner from Town Hall.

The owner, Paul Carson, had until midnight Monday to remove a temporary directional sign at Town Square, which had been erected without a permit, Wagaman said.

If Carson did not remove the sign by midnight, town officials would have to pursue the matter through Washington County District Court, he said. Wagaman said town officials weren't interested in a fine, but wanted the sign removed.

Milburn told Kesler and council members that the town's zoning laws were so strict they were robbing the town of golden opportunities.

Citizens who have invested thousands of dollars to improve buildings that would be considered "eyesores" constantly face roadblocks from local government, Milburn said.

Milburn asked Councilman Russ Weaver why he had allowed violations of the town's zoning law against satellite dishes, including a relative of Weaver's who has an 18-inch dish.

At the time the zoning regulation was written, it was a reasonable law because the satellite dishes were about 7 feet in diameter, Weaver said. Most of the 18-inch dishes will pass the special exemption requirements because they are far enough away from property boundaries, he said.

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