A Georgetown woman whose decade-old hair salon was recently shut down by the town is one step closer to reopening her business.
Prior to the Aug. 28 Georgetown Town Council meeting, a public hearing was held for a conditional use application for Shades of Beauty, a small salon on Bridgeville Road owned and operated by Clara Evans out of her single-family home.
Evans said her application is 10 years late because she did not know she needed to consult with the town, as she has held a state business license since her shop opened. Her salon was shut down on April 23 by the town.
"I operated my business under the impression that I was legal," Evans said. "I have filed taxes and obtained a business license for the last 10 years. At no time did I hide that I was operating a beauty salon."
Evans said she consulted First State Community Action Agency to help her open the salon, which operates by appointment only and contains just one salon chair. Town Manager Gene Dvornick said the town rewrote its zoning ordinances after Shades of Beauty opened, therefore a salon may have been a permitted in-home business in 2003.
"That may be why First State did not instruct her to go to the Town of Georgetown, because it was a permitted use, but in the current code it is not," Dvornick said.
The council discussed whether Evans should have to pay back fees to cover the last 10 years, but ultimately decided against it.
"My feeling is we approve the conditional use and don't charge any back fees," said Councilman Steve Hartstein. "We'll just call it a misunderstanding. I don't see any reason to penalize a business in Georgetown who's just trying to do a good job. It doesn't make any sense to me."
A lack of parking was raised as a concern, but because Evans only takes one client at a time, and because a neighbor allows her to utilize his driveway, she said it has never been an issue. The neighbor, Wilfrid Raymond, submitted a letter to the town stating he has given Evans permission to use his driveway for her business.
The council plans to vote on the matter at its Sept. 11 meeting. Mayor Mike Wyatt said conditions may be placed on the approval, such as one stating Evans cannot change her business structure due to the lack of parking at her home. If the council votes to approve the application, Evans will be permitted to move forward in reopening her salon.