Vermont’s infamous naked town is under orders to keep its pants on.
On a 3-2 vote, town officials passed an emergency rule Tuesday banning nudity on the main roads and within 250 feet of any school or place of worship, among other places. Anyone still determined to go window shopping au naturale could face a $100 fine.
Tiny Brattleboro has long been a live-and-let-live kind of place where skinny dipping was a rite of summer. Last summer, though, it began flirting with a nudity ban after a group of teens took to hanging around a downtown parking lot in the buff. Officials decided then to let winter take care of the problem and never voted.
It took an elderly man wearing only a fanny pack and wandering through the center of town last week for the Select Board to decide it had seen enough.
"People have a reasonable expectation that when they are going out, they’re not going to run into any nude people," said board member Dick DeGray, who wrote the ordinance.
The nudists and their fans still get a say in the matter: Next month, Brattleboro will hold a public hearing on whether the ordinance should be made permanent. The ordinance defines nudity as the showing of genitalia, buttocks or female breasts; a provision allows breast-feeding in public.
Board member Dora Bouboulis, who voted against the ordinance, worried about the precedent it would set.
"I understand a lot of people find it uncomfortable to be faced with someone nude," she said, but added, "We’re careful not to legislate morality."