Manchester aims to control sex businesses | News

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MANCHESTER — In addition to school funding, paying bills and dedicating money to Community Preservation projects, Manchester-by-the-Sea voters will also have sex on the warrant at the annual Town Meeting.

On Monday, April 3, voters will hear about, and consider adopting, plans to regulate sex-oriented businesses.

The measure is aimed at setting up the parameters for potentially sexually oriented businesses, should they be introduced in Manchester. According to Town Administrator Gregory Federspiel, the town does not currently have any adult entertainment establishments. He said the town is trying to get ahead of any potential problems that might be associated with such businesses.

“Article 17 is about putting in place some specific guidelines for adult entertainment,” said Federspiel. “It’s just an effort to make sure that if we were ever to receive such an application we would have specific guidelines that we could follow in granting a permit.”

The “Purpose and Intent” section of the Article 17 indicates the measure is aimed at establishing “reasonable and uniform regulation to prevent the concentration of sexually orientated businesses within the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea.”

According to Article 17, the measure is aimed at promoting the “health, safety and general welfare” of Manchester’s residents “to prevent the problems of blight, deterioration and/or secondary impacts (increased crime, adverse impacts on health, adverse impacts on the business climate of the town, adverse impacts on the property values of residential and commercial properties and adverse impacts on the quality of life in the town) which typically accompany and are brought about by the concentration of sexually oriented businesses.”

Federspiel said adult entertainment needs to be allowed by law but that it needs to be restricted to specific zones in town.

“This new bylaw gives us some guidance as to how we would review and approve any such request,” he said.

According to Section 8.6.3 of Article 17, adult entertainment establishments would be allowed only by a special permit granted by the Manchester Planning Board.

Also, it would establish such possible use in a “Limited Commercial District” and limit such use to no closer than 1,000 feet of a church or place of worship, parish house or convent, a public, parochial or private school, another structure containing an “adult use” and any structure proposed to contain an adult use for which a building permit has been applied for.

Further, the business would not be permitted within 400 feet of a residence or child day care facility.

In addition, the article would bar any sexually explicit material that would be visible outside the building, prohibit private viewing rooms or booths and also prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from entering the building.

Manchester’s annual Town Meeting is slated for April 3 and will start at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Memorial School located at 43 Lincoln St. in Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Stephen Hagan can be reached at 978-675-2708 or at

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