By CARA SPOTO
RACINE - An ordinance proposal that would prevent violent or child sex offenders placed in Racine from residing within 1,000 feet of locations where children spend time is on its way to the City Council, but not before an item regarding appeals gets another look.
Meeting Monday night at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., the Public Safety and Licensing Committee voted 3-0 to recommend that the council approve the ordinance with the understanding that the current draft would receive some adjustments before being considered by the council.
Committee members said they were comfortable with the key elements of the measure, which proposes that sex offenders located to Racine be banned from residing within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, library, park, playground, swimming pool or house of worship. However, members had lingering questions about certain definitions and the measure’s proposed appeals process.
In its current form, the proposed ordinance states that a sex offender looking to be exempted from the 1,000-foot residence requirements could make an appeal to the Public Safety and Licensing Committee.
Alderman Sandy Weidner, who is not a member of the committee, said aldermen should consider establishing a separate body to hear appeals.
“I don’t know that all the members that would be appointed to the (Public Safety and Licensing Committee) would even want to have that onus on their shoulders,” she said. “I think that’s a lot to ask.”
Some of the questions the committee members had were, in part, raised by Robert Peterson, an attorney for convicted sex offender [name withheld], who was recently released to Racine.
Peterson, who spoke during the public hearing before the meeting, presented data that he said shows restrictions on where convicted sex offenders can live have almost no effect on recidivism.
“Residence requirements of 1,000 feet, 2,000 feet, statistically will do nothing to increase the safety of the community,” Peterson said.
[name withheld]’s former victim also spoke during the sparsely attended hearing. The victim, whose name The Journal Times is not releasing, implored the committee to support the measure. Committee member and outgoing alderman Molly Hall began working on the proposal earlier this year after [name withheld] was nearly relocated within blocks of the victim’s West Racine residence.
“This ordinance should have been in effect a long time ago,” the victim said. “I am strongly asking you to take this ordinance into consideration so other people don’t have to go through what I have been through in the last three and a half months.”
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
WI - Sex offender buffer zone proposal heads to council