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Wrentham Selectmen Notebook: Planning Board Pushing Zoning for Adult Businesses

At Tuesday's night meeting, Town Planner Paige Duncan updated the board on what the Planning Board is up to, Chief McMorrow and Finance Director Karen Jelloe stopped by to talk about the ambulance fund.

Clocking in at about 75 minutes, Tuesday night’s meeting of the Board of Selecmen was an unusually shorter meeting than usual.  T

The short meeting was partially due to the absence of selectman Stephen Langley who was out because of an illness. With Langley presenting a discussion on social media policy and street lighting on Thurston, Madison, and West Streets, the board was forced to hold off on a pair of actions and the board's evaluation of town adminitrator William Ketcham until Langley’s return.

In the first appointment of the evening, town planner Paige Duncan gave her update from the Planning Board. Despite a lack of desire to discuss the issue, Duncan and the board will be pushing for an adult entertainment bylaw to be included in the Wrentham Special Town Meeting on Nov. 13.

The bylaw is by no means part of a push for adult entertainment in town, but rather it would designate where such businesses could go if they did come to Wrentham. Duncan is looking to zone the area the Shire Industrial Park by the Norfolk/Wrentham boarder as the adult business zone. Currently there are no restrictions where an adult business can open in Wrentham.

“None of us want that type of business but what we're fearful of is if we don't do the right zoning like most towns around, then we run the risk of being vulnerable to them telling us where the adult business is going to go,” Duncan told the board.

The best way to try to recoup the  $270,000 in ambulance usage fees is a problem Wrentham Fire Chief Jay McMorrow and Wrentham Finance Director Karen Jelloe are trying to figure out.

With many of the unpaid fees from those who cannot afford it, missing people, and nonresidents, it hasn’t been easy trying to find the ambulance users who have yet to pay for needing to use the service.

Selectmen Charles Kennedy hesitantly suggested that the town push to revoke their driver licenses as is allowable when a person owes the state money unless the person can truly not pay.

“I’m not saying you want to be nasty like that, but I don’t know what other avenues we have,” Kennedy said.

Bringing in a debt collection agency would be another option. Despite the agency keeping a portion of what is collected, it would bring in part of the missing money. While McMorrow was worried about strong-arming people, it was agreed that there should be limits to how far the town and the agency should be to collect the money.

In the end, the board recommended that McMorrow and Jelloe create a process for finding people that the board will vote on when ready.

With little resistance, selectmen approved for restaurants at the Wrentham Outlets to take part in their annual Midnight Madness sale starting on the day after Thanksgiving contingent on the approval of the planning board.

The approvals would give the restaurants permission to stay open during the night and into normal hours. Like previous years, there will not be alcohol served during the promotion. 

Selectmen will meet again on Oct. 2 at 6:45 p.m. in the conference room on the second floor of Wrentham Town Hall.

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