|Cloverland children need more protection|
After reading the article in last week’s paper about Cloverland’s public hearing on the sex-offender ordinance, I?felt I?needed to let the public know what was not written about and why we were all so upset.
To us, a school bus stop is a child-safety zone. It does not matter how many children wait at a bus stop. In fact, it is actually more dangerous when there are only a few children at a bus stop versus several children. If a town hall and boat landings are considered child-safety zones, why then is a bus stop not considered a child-safety zone?We have been requesting the Cloverland Town Board and Plan Commission for their help with our current situation. When we asked for a sex-offender ordinance, town Chairman Scott Maciosek and a few others would point out to us that they were concerned about getting sued from the state.
Finally, Nov. 7, 2012, they agreed to ask the town board to move forward with an ordinance our town attorney, Jack O’Brien, wrote up — an ordinance that we feel had a chance of getting our current sexually violent person removed from Chickaree Lake Rd. The ordinance referred to child-safety zones as “areas where children are likely to be because of transportation or otherwise (school bus stops).”
The ordinance also stated that if a sex offender is in a child-safety zone, “that at the end of their current rental term, in the case of a lease, the registered sexual offender is required to abandon that permanent residence.”
These two important parts of the ordinance were completely omitted in the new draft by attorney Steve Garbowicz. The only change that we agree with is the setbacks increasing from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet.
The state is in the process now of renewing the lease with the landowner. We had an opportunity of possibly feeling safe again in our neighborhood and now, because of the planning commission’s decision to go ahead with the ordinance drafted by Garbowicz, that hope is gone.
There were many mistakes made in placing this sexually-violent person across the road from a school bus stop and a family with two little girls. It’s summer now and they don’t feel safe to play in their own yard.
I wish we could have convinced the plan commission to help us and send a message to the state that they shouldn’t be so careless in placing these people. This is an experiment that we feel we have the right to not be a part of. I wish at least our local officials felt the same way. We were not even notified.
In fact, in a letter I?received from state Rep. Rob Swearingen, he told me, “With regards to public notification of the sex offender living in your neighborhood, I was informed there was not an organized meeting scheduled.” The Department of Health Services informed Swearingen “that the local law enforcement and local department of health opted out of a meeting.”
And yes, Francine Gough, I know this town ordinance wasn’t just for my family. To me, it was about the sexually violent person’s closest neighbors and other children in Cloverland by making sure a bus stop is considered a child-safety zone. I’ve also contacted senators and Rep. Swearingen about changing laws in how they place these sexually violent persons. I?would like to sincerely thank those board members — Joe Eisle, Marty Ketterer and Bob Brownell — who tried to help us and for not giving up on our children.
|Tuesday, June 18, 2013 2:23 PM|