DERBY – The Derby Planning Commission has approved regulations on adult-oriented businesses for the town; however the decision was not unanimous. Planner Dave LaBelle voted the motion down while all others said yes. The new regulations require that any adult-oriented business locate in specific areas and not be near other entities such as schools and churches and not in residential areas.
A public hearing was held June 18 on the zoning bylaw amendment.
Although the majority of the planning commission approved the regulations, the Derby Select Board must also approve it before the zoning regulations are amended. A public hearing before the select board will be warned and then the board will vote.
The planning commission approved allowing adult-oriented businesses only in industrial and commercial and/or industrial zones, which is a limited area in the town. One part of the Quarry Road is industrial. Some property around Citizens Road and the Interstate access road is zoned commercial/industrial. However, not all areas in the zones would work because of the proposed setback requirements.
Adult businesses are listed as: adult arcade, adult bookstore, adult novelty store, adult video store, adult cabaret, or adult motion picture theater. The proposal also defines each entity.
“The Intent is to establish reasonable and uniform regulations for adult oriented businesses, which, unless closely regulated, cause adverse secondary impacts on the community,” the meeting minutes state. These potential impacts, according to the planners, are increased crime, blighting of neighborhoods, decreased property values, depressed real estate markets, harm to minors, and spread of disease and an overall decline in the quality and character of surrounding neighborhoods.
Also explained is that these “provisions” do not deny access by adults to adult entertainment materials protected by the First Amendment nor deny access by the distributors and exhibitors of sexually oriented entertainment to their intended market.
Other regulations include setback requirements, which would be a minimum of 500 feet from the boundary of any residential zoning district, any public library, public, private, or parochial school, preschool, and daycare center, public park, playground, or any place of religious organization.
An adult-oriented business would have to be located a minimum of 1,000 feet from any other adult-oriented business already in existence. The businesses would also have to prevent a view inside from the outside of specified objects or activities. Signs would also be regulated.
The proposed bylaw amendment comes in the wake of controversy on an adult store that opened in Derby. A group of people tried to stop the store from opening to no avail as there are currently no regulations in the Derby Town Zoning Bylaws regarding adult businesses.
Joe Profera, the chair of the planning commission, said in an interview Monday that he wanted something in place to regulate adult-oriented business.