Since the advent of sex-offender registries, together with strict limits on where listed individuals may reside, exactly where to house those individuals has become an increasing problem. Listed offenders must disclose their status to potential landlords, and many choose not to rent to them. That’s become a headache for state parole officials trying to find places to live for people who have technically paid their debt to society. One solution — placing them in underused motels with otherwise high vacancy rates — has gotten the attention of Lloyd Town Council members.
Parole officials “do not believe nine is too high” a concentration of offenders for a town of 11,000, according to Town Supervisor Paul Hansut, but some members of the community disagree. That’s why he and other council members are considering passing a law, modeled on the one first used in Colonie, which restricts the concentration of registered offenders in one location. “It solved the problem,” Hansut said, and motel owners in that town decided not to challenge it in court. The law uses a point system based on the level each offender is assigned on the state registry.
Building department head David Barton supported such legislation, but urged council members to ensure that any law passed as clear enforcement provisions to empower his staff members.
Council member Joseph Mazzetti thought it was “worth looking into,” although he also acknowledged the extreme difficulty to find any place to live for individuals on the registry, some of whom must remain listed for life due to the severity of their crimes.
Hansut, a retired police officer, said that the “creepiest part of my whole job was chasing these people around.”
Council members will discuss the specifics once town attorney Sean Murphy has reviewed the Colonie law.