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Friday, April 29, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 17

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8/22/2014 4:08:00 PM
Damariscotta Initiates Moratorium on Adult Entertainment Businesses
By Tim Badgley

The Damariscotta Board of Selectman unanimously approved a motion directing Town Manager Matt Lutkus to develop a moratorium ordinance on adult entertainment establishments at its regular meeting Aug. 20.

Without identifying the name of the business to the board, Lutkus said the town had "received inquiries about a firm that is considering a location in Damariscotta for an adult entertainment facility." Lutkus later identified the interested party as Herman "Rusty" Hoffman, owner of Hoffman's Collectibles in Waldoboro.

When contacted at his Waldoboro shop Aug. 22, Hoffman confirmed his plan to relocate his business to Damariscotta.

"The business won't have the same name in Damariscotta," Hoffman said. "I don't know what I want to call it yet, but I have a few ideas."

Hoffman said he has several storage units of merchandise that he wants to sell but has no room to display at his Waldoboro location. He plans to retain his inventory of collectible merchandise and expand into a gift shop in Damariscotta.

"We'll be selling adult toys and adult videos, lingerie and bachelor and bachelorette party stuff," Hoffman said. "We'll also selling our kids' toys as well. It'll be like a Spencer's gift shop."

Hoffman said he wants to create a "one-stop shop" for gifts.

At the selectmen's meeting Lutkus said their action to develop a moratorium ordinance would require the approval of Damariscotta voters at a special town meeting.

Lutkus said a draft moratorium ordinance would be presented for review to the selectmen at their next meeting scheduled Sept. 3.

If approved by the selectmen, it would be added to the warrant items for a special town meeting, tentatively slated for Sept. 17. If approved by Damariscotta voters, the start of the moratorium would be retroactive to Aug. 20, when the entire process was initiated by the selectmen.

The town would then have six months from Aug. 20 to develop a new ordinance or enact changes to existing ordinances to regulate adult entertainment businesses in Damariscotta.

Lutkus said adult entertainment businesses cannot be excluded from a town due to First Amendment rights. "They can, however, be regulated," he said.

Lutkus said the location of an adult entertainment business can be determined either by zoning ordinances or a municipality's general policing powers or both.

It would be wise for the Damariscotta selectmen to be proactive and follow in the footsteps of other Maine towns, such as Wiscasset, Edgecomb, Madison, and Eliot, by creating regulations for adult entertainment businesses, Lutkus said.

"There are certain cultural aspects of Damariscotta that we want to maintain," Lutkus said. "I think this is one area we should address before it becomes an issue."

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