Would an adult business be welcome in Shelburne? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Would an adult business be welcome in Shelburne?

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Zoning regulations aren't usually a sexy topic but they are these days in Shelburne.

The town is trying to figure out how to manage any adult businesses that might want to set up shop.

The Route 7 corridor has been a focus for the town and they expressed some concerns that if an adult entertainment establishment came there it could scare other businesses off, but they also can't ban them.

Along the stretch of Route 7 in Shelburne from the South Burlington line to Webster Road you'll see a little bit of everything. Businesses, homes, motels and open fields. The town has been trying to encourage new business in the area for the past five years or so, but when the idea of a gentleman's club was recently floated by an attorney officials did a double take.

"We didn't know how serious the inquiry was. And maybe that's not important. What's important is looking at the regulations and recognizing that there was a gap in how it dealt with adult entertainment establishments," said Joe Colangelo, Shelburne town manager.

Colangelo says he could see how that highly-traveled corridor could be appealing and the town can't ban adult entertainment because it's protected by the First Amendment, but he also says boundaries are needed.

"There are some negative impacts that could come as a result. Human trafficking, increased crime, potentially the devaluation of some real estate," said Colangelo. "Absent any regulations, it's a bit more of a free-for-all.

And right now there aren't any. Which, according to town planner Dean Pierce, means that a prospective adult business would not have to say if it was going to steam up something other than food.

"If someone bought a restaurant and wanted to offer dancing and things like that, the regulations are silent on it. So essentially, those uses and activities could occur as part of a restaurant," said Pierce.

But that could change after a public meeting December 15. Proposed new regulations would define what "adult entertainment" is and set some guidelines.

Including who could enter, how visible the inside would be from the street, what kinds of signs are allowed and also where it could be.

Adult entertainment would have to be 600 feet from "sensitive" properties, things like daycares, schools, parks, churches and residential areas and 150 feet back from sidewalks.

Also, a thousand feet apart from another adult entertainment property.

"What we're regulating is the secondary impacts, not the primary use," said Pierce.

Even if adult businesses are allowed in Shelburne, the question is whether they will be welcome in town.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: Do you think it fits with the character of Shelburne? 

Mariana Dubrul, Charlotte: Not really. Two little kids, I would have to put my hands over their eyes.

"It's probably not right for Shelburne. A lot of people would be upset by it. Shelburne is kind-of a classy town," said Winston Ball, Shelburne resident.

WCAX reached out to the attorney who contacted Shelburne to try to find out more about who his client is and what kind of establishment they were thinking about. Our calls were not returned.

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