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General Laws

Section 9A. Zoning ordinances or by-laws may provide for special permits authorizing the establishment of adult bookstores, adult motion picture theaters, adult paraphernalia stores, adult video stores or establishments which display live nudity for their patrons as hereinafter defined. Such zoning ordinance or by-law may state the specific improvements, amenities or locations of proposed uses for which such permit may be granted and may provide that the proposed use be a specific distance from any district designated by zoning ordinance or by-law for any residential use or from any other adult bookstore or adult motion picture theatre or from any establishment licensed under the provisions of section twelve of chapter one hundred and thirty-eight. Such zoning ordinance or by-law shall prohibit the issuance of such special permits to any person convicted of violating the provisions of section sixty-three of chapter one hundred and nineteen or section twenty-eight of chapter two hundred and seventy-two.

As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:—

“Adult bookstore”, an establishment having as a substantial or significant portion of its stock in trade, books, magazines, and other matter which are distinguished or characterized by their emphasis depicting, describing, or relating to sexual conduct or sexual excitement as defined in section thirty-one of chapter two hundred and seventy-two.

“Adult motion picture theatre”, an enclosed building used for presenting material distinguished by an emphasis on matter depicting, describing, or relating to sexual conduct or sexual excitement as defined in section thirty-one of chapter two hundred and seventy-two.

“Adult paraphernalia store,” an establishment having as a substantial or significant portion of its stock devices, objects, tools, or toys which are distinguished or characterized by their association with sexual activity, including sexual conduct or sexual excitement as defined in section thirty-one of chapter two hundred and seventy-two.

“Adult video store,” an establishment having as a substantial or significant portion of its stock in trade, videos, movies, or other film material which are distinguished or characterized by their emphasis depicting, describing, or relating to sexual conduct or sexual excitement as defined in said section thirty-one of said chapter two hundred and seventy-two.

“Establishment which displays live nudity for its patrons”, any establishment which provides live entertainment for its patrons, which includes the display of nudity, as that term is defined in section thirty-one of chapter two hundred and seventy-two.

Zoning ordinances or by-laws shall provide that special permits shall only be issued following public hearings held within sixty-five days after filing of an application with the special permit granting authority, a copy of which shall forthwith be given to the city or town clerk by the applicant, and may provide that certain classes of special permits shall be issued by one special permit granting authority and others by another special permit granting authority as provided in the ordinance or by-law. Such special permit granting authority shall adopt and from time to time amend rules relative to the issuance of such permits, and shall file a copy of said rules in the office of the city or town clerk. Such rules shall prescribe a size, form, contents, style and number of copies of plans and specifications and the procedure for a submission and approval of such permits.

Special permit granting authorities shall act within ninety days following a public hearing for which notice has been given by publication or posting as provided in section eleven, and by mailing to all parties in interest; provided, however, that a city council having more than five members designated to act upon such a permit may appoint a committee of such council to hold the public hearing. Failure by a special permit granting authority to take final action upon an application for a special permit within said ninety days following the date of public hearing shall be deemed to be a grant of the permit applied for. Special permits issued by a special permit granting authority shall require a two-thirds vote of boards with more than five members, a vote of at least four members of a five member board and a unanimous vote of a three member board. Zoning ordinances or by-laws shall provide that a special permit granted under this section shall lapse within a specified period of time, not more than two years, and including such time required to pursue or await the determination of an appeal referred to in section seventeen, from the grant thereof, if a substantial use thereof has not sooner commenced except for good cause or, in the case of permit for construction, if construction has not begun by such date except for good cause.

Any existing adult bookstore, adult motion picture theater, adult paraphernalia store or establishment which displays live nudity for its patrons, or adult video store shall apply for such permit within ninety days following the adoption of said zoning ordinance or by-law by a municipality.

Nothing contained herein shall be construed as limiting the power and authority of cities and towns to regulate the use of land, structures or buildings through by-law or zoning ordinance.

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