WILTON – Voters passed an adult entertainment ordinance at their annual town meeting Monday.

The Planning Board brought a proposal to voters that allows adult businesses to only be located in commercial zones. The business would have to be 500 feet from any church, school, library, residence or other adult business. The distance will be measured from the entrance of the establishment to the boundary of the adjacent property.

Before the ordinance there was nothing to stop anyone from putting an adult establishment anywhere in town.

Under the proposal, an adult business is defined as any business that derives at least 50 percent of its operating income from the retail sale or lease of any goods or services that cannot legally be sold to anyone under 18 or that excludes anyone under 21 from entering the premises.

Gravel pits could also be located anywhere in town. Now they will no longer be allowed in residential I and II, limited residential, downtown village, or stream protected zones. They will be allowed only in farm and forest, commercial, industrial and resource protection zones with Planning Board or code enforcement officer approval.

Planners said the changes will only affect those who use gravel pits as an actual business, not residents who sell small quantities because they are landscaping or building a home and have extra gravel to get rid of.

Voters approved the town’s first subdivision ordinance, which is in line with standards recommended in the Wilton Comprehensive Plan adopted in 1995. Planners relied on state criteria, which did not spell out the details of what was required of an applicant.

Voters approved $89,072 for the town’s library, with a total budget of $99,098, a 5 percent increase over last year. The budget includes a 25 percent rise in insurance costs and a 3 percent salary increase for all the staff. Last year head librarian Vaughan Gagne gave back her 1 percent raise so her employees could get a larger raise. The only addition to the budget is for a professional service accountant to do compilation audits and 990 tax forms.

Selectmen recommended nothing for a reserve fund that was established in 1997 to make the library handicap accessible. The library received no money for the fund last year either.

Voters agreed to pay $37,968 to Franklin Memorial Hospital for LifeStar ambulance service for the first year. Town Manager Peter Neilsen explained that this is a per capita charge of more than $9 per person. The town population in the last census was 4,123.

The monies will help cover Medicare reimbursements that previously supported ambulance service in the area and have been reduced. Those reimbursements are expected to continue to decline with area towns picking up the cost.

“It was seen as a situation where we didn’t really have a choice,” Neilsen said. He said the only other option would be to attempt to establish an ambulance service in Wilton or contract with another service.

Some residents urged voters to take from the town’s surplus account to pay for such things as road and bridge repairs rather than raise the monies from taxes. All of the motions to amend such articles to raise nothing for the accounts failed.

Neilsen explained that the surplus account is built up over time in case the town has an emergency and to help reduce the tax commitment each year. The town currently has about $2.3 million in surplus.


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