Sharpsburg is one of only a few incorporated towns in Maryland to have completely residential zoning. Under that zoning, anyone wishing to open a business must apply for a special exception.
There are at least two other incorporated towns in Maryland zoned residential - Rosemont in Frederick County and Highland Beach, an old beach resort south of Annapolis, officials said.
Sharpsburg officials have never tried to attract business, which creating a business district could do, said Councilman Russ Weaver.
In March, the zoning board approved special exceptions for three antique shops, including one in a shed behind a home at 205 W. Main St.
"We don't need a business district," said Jean Harne, who owns a quilt shop on Main Street.
Harne said the town's zoning officials shouldn't have approved the zoning exception for 205 W. Main St. because off-street parking wasn't available.
The town's planning commission had recommended the exception not be approved because of the parking situation.
Former mayor Ron Milburn said he doesn't support a business district, but would like specific buildings in town to be zoned for a limited number of businesses so zoning hearings weren't always necessary.
Vice Mayor Sid Gale said spot zoning isn't allowed.
Milburn said he shouldn't have to seek a zoning exemption to use a building that housed a similar business a few years earlier.
It also takes too long to get the hearing set up, costing the property owner and business person valuable time and money, said Milburn.
Milburn owns a building at 100 E. Main St., where an ice cream shop is located and an exception for an antique shop was approved in March. A request to locate a pizza and sub shop there was rejected last November.
Mayor George Kesler said town officials would make sure future hearings are prompt.