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Business vs. Borough: Proposed vape sale ban

PAXTANG, Pa. – A new vape shop in Paxtang could be in danger of closing its doors, after a proposed amendment to a zoning ordinance wouldn’t allow i...

PAXTANG, Pa. - A new vape shop in Paxtang could be in danger of closing its doors, after a proposed amendment to a zoning ordinance wouldn't allow it to operate. However, the owner said he was given the green light months ago.

The owner of East Coast Vapor located on 3440 Derry Street was denied a business license, even though the zoning ordinance allows a retail shop to operate there. Now the 14,000-square foot vape shop is already in danger of closing, even though it hasn’t been open for a month yet.

“I really don't know what to do,” Josh Sanders, the owner, said.

Back in September, East Coast Vapor decided to buy the empty property, which was formerly a retail shop. Before putting a $25,000 deposit down, Sanders called the Borough to tell them he was interested in the building.

"When I called they realized everything was okay for me to come in,” Sanders said.

So he settled on the property December 5th. A week or two later, he went to the Borough to get his business license. The very next day, his application was denied.

He said the Borough told him about a proposed ordinance, posted on their website November 12th, one month after Sanders said he got the the green light from the Borough to buy the business, which states, in part: "Council voted to advertise an ordinance to amend its zoning ordinance to define and restrict the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems products and tobacco products as a conditional use in the downtown general business district."

"I have no clue what the conditional use means,” Sanders said.

Neither did we. FOX 43 asked the Borough for clarification - over the phone, via email, and in person. Their response: "Due to potential litigation, the Borough has no further comment."

"Our industry always gets a bad rap,” Sanders said. "All we're trying to do is get people off of cigarettes. And that should be a good thing in peoples' eyes. My door is open all the time. You can come in, take a look at the store. If you see anything offensive, tell us, We'll try to remedy it. I try to run a professional business. I mean, it's just a retail shop."

Sanders said he received a letter saying if he continues operating he could be fined $500 dollars a day. A public hearing about this ordinance has been rescheduled multiple times. It's expected to take place on January 21st.