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City Council postpones adopting sexual offender residency restrictions

On second thought, a majority of Hudson City Council members decided that a proposed ordinance restricting where convicted sex offenders can live in the city was too onerous.

The council at its May 18 meeting rejected final approval of the "Restricted Zones and Residence Restrictions for Sex Offenders" ordinance that it had given first-reading approval to at its previous meeting.

Four alderpersons - Scot O'Malley, Lee Wyland, Lori Bernard and Pam Brokaw - voted against adopting the ordinance. Alderpersons Randy Morrissette II and Alan Burchill voted for it.

There was no objection by council members to prohibiting violent sexual offenders and those convicted of offenses against children from being at or near places frequented by children.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit offenders from being on those properties or loitering within 150 feet of specified properties. The properties would include schools, parks, public libraries, daycare centers and youth centers.

But a majority of council members were reticent to adopt an ordinance banning offenders from living within 250 feet of the restricted places.

Alderperson Scot O'Malley argued that the restriction would put too much of Hudson's rental property off limits to sex offenders. O'Malley said they would quit reporting where they were living to authorities.

The council's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday morning discussed revising the sex offender residency restrictions.

The committee's agenda included:

1. Splitting the ordinance in two;

2. Creating a map showing the restricted residences at 200-foot distances;

3. Including the multi-family property on both the 250- and 200-foot maps;

4. Including the "rental" properties on both the 250-foot and 200-foot map; and

5. Drafting a list of "exempt" zones in which sexual offenders could reside despite the proximity to a protected area such as Lakefront Park.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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