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Stonington - The Stonington Borough Merchants' Association announced Sunday that it's opposing a new ordinance that bans tour and school buses longer than 25 feet from traveling south of Wadawanuck Square.
The association is also encouraging residents to attend Saturday's borough meeting and vote to amend the ordinance to allow for special exceptions. The meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m. at the borough firehouse
More than 200 residents who would like to see the ordinance repealed or modified signed a petition that forced Saturday's vote. The board of Warden and Burgesses adopted the ordinance last month.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the merchants association's Board of Directors said that during the development of the ordinance, it expressed concerns about its impact on two of its nonprofit members, the Stonington Historical Society and New England Science & Sailing.
NESS has said it is worried there is a safety issue with students having to walk the half-mile to its location after being dropped off by school buses at the square. In addition it says the extra travel time eats into the time of its programs.
While the association said it is sensitive to the concerns of residents about large buses clogging narrow village streets, it said, "We believe that the ordinance will have a negative impact on the economic well being of local businesses and bringing visitors to the Lighthouse Museum and to NESS does not decrease the quality of life in the Borough. Nonprofits provide a tremendous community service to both residents and to visitors. Further, nonprofit organizations in the borough feed the for-profit businesses by bringing visitors, events, and customers to the Borough."