Paxtang tables proposed ban of nicotine products, seeks more input

Harrisburg

PAXTANG, Pa. (WHTM) — Vaping is a growing trend in the tobacco business, but an increasing number of people don’t like e-cigarettes because of the health hazards.

That feeling is in part driving support for a proposed ban on vaping and smoking products in one Dauphin County borough.

Tuesday, Paxtang Borough Council held a public hearing to discuss an amendment to a zoning ordinance, that would “prohibit the sale of nicotine-related products (vape shops and smoke shops) in the Conservation, Neighborhood and Downtown Districts of the Borough.”

At the meeting, there was overwhelming support for the ban, with some parents saying vape shops and kids do not mix.

“They deserve a downtown that has shops that they can go in, that don’t have windows on display of people smoking,” Elizabeth Marx said.

According to the borough’s website, on Nov. 19, 2019, Paxtang Borough Council voted to advertise the ordinance.

“The ordinance amendment would prohibit the sale of those items in the conservation zoning district, the traditional neighborhood district, the mixed neighborhood district, and the downtown district,” borough solicitor Stephen Feinour said.

Despite that November advertisement, the owner of East Coast Vapor on Derry Street, Joshua Sanders, still opened up his shop at the end of December.

Sanders and his attorney said Tuesday that he had gotten the go-ahead from the borough before moving his 10-year-old business to Paxtang.

“In reliance upon that, he purchased the building on Derry Street for $525,000,” said Sanders’ attorney, Mike Pykosh. “Passage of this amendment is going to financially destroy him, his wife, his daughter.”

The borough wouldn’t clarify if they did indeed give the go-ahead.

Meanwhile, some people did voice support for Sanders in opposing the amendment.

“I think it’s wrong, what you’re doing is wrong, you allowed him to purchase the property and a week after he moved in you’re telling him he can’t be there, it’s wrong what you did,” said one woman who shared that she’s a frequent customer at East Coast.

One man said vaping saved his father, who was an avid smoker.

“I absolutely attribute him still being alive today to vaping,” said Michael Strupkoff. “The lesser of two evils is an easy choice for me.”

On the borough’s website, a statement about the vape shop and the proposed amendment reads in part: “The Borough has not issued a business license for this activity, and the borough’s zoning officer has issued an enforcement notice demanding that the property owner comply with the proposed amendment.”

After the public hearing and input, the amendment was tabled. Borough council said they want more input before a potential vote next month.

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