ELIOT, Maine — Selectmen will hold a special town meeting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at Marshwood Middle School in order for residents to vote on a moratorium on public nudity.
The vote on the moratorium, which for six months would block the approval of a facility looking to showcase nude dancing, was scheduled after a 2½ -hour public hearing Thursday at the Regatta Room and Banquet Center on two proposed anti-nude entertainment ordinances — a session that drew close to 200 people.
Donald DeNunzio of DeNunzio Realty LLC has submitted an application to the town’s planning board to turn a former day care facility at 403 Route 236 — a building he owns — into a gentleman’s club that features partially and fully nude dancers.
The town has proposed two ordinances which govern establishments of this nature and any business or individual looking to bring nude entertainment into Eliot.
Geoff Hole, an attorney representing the town, said a moratorium would buy the town more time to work on those ordinances, as an attorney representing DeNunzio has said he will fight the town in court.
“It’s really important to this process that we take the time to make sure that the board can have access to some of the studies and to absorb and agree with some of those studies to give us strongest position possible,” said Hole. “I encourage the selectmen whatever way they go to make sure they take enough time to make sure we do this right.”
Thursday’s public hearing was the second on the new ordinances, which were proposed after the conditional use permit application for 403 Gentleman’s Club was received in March.
Many residents spoke again Thursday in strong opposition to the club, many speaking about the possible increase in crime and burden on police, as well as issues with proximity to Eliot Elementary School and two churches, that could arise should it be permitted.
“Numerous things are going to happen when this thing opens, but I’m sorry I don’t want it in my neighborhood,” said one woman.
Hole and Selectmen Chairman Roland Ferland said this is the reason they need to take the time to evaluate studies about distance requirements from schools and secondary effects of a strip club.
Each said the town’s proposed ordinances would be reworked during the moratorium to include findings for that information, and voters at a future date would vote on the ordinances themselves.
The ordinances are posted online at EliotMaine.org, and Hole said the moratorium ordinance also will be posted online in advance of the May 14 special meeting.
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.