February 15, 2013

Montville to hold off on repeal of child safety ordinance

2-15-2013 Connecticut:

The town will not take any immediate action to repeal its ordinance enforcing child safety zones - designated areas into which registered sex offenders may not enter - although the Town Council may still follow up on the controversial issue.

The council voted against a motion to hold a public hearing on the safety zones on Wednesday night, an action that is required before holding a vote on whether to repeal them.

A vote to postpone discussion of the subject indefinitely also failed, however, leaving it open for further review.

Safety zones became a contentious issue among council members last fall, following an ordinance that created senior safety zones by banning sex offenders from areas frequently populated by senior citizens. The Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union objected to that ordinance and said it would consider suing Montville should a complainant approach the advocacy group.

The council voted to repeal the senior safety zones last month after councilor Rosetta Jones raised the issue by sponsoring a petition. Jones was concerned about the possibility of a civil rights lawsuit against Montville.

After the repeal of the senior safety zones, council Chairman Candy Buebendorf called for a vote on the repeal of the similar child safety zones to maintain a consistent position on civil liberties. The council voted in favor of repealing the child safety zones, but the vote had no effect because the town did not hold a public hearing on the issue beforehand.

Jones, who does not support the repeal of the child safety zones, said she hopes the issue will die after Wednesday's decision. She characterized the effort to repeal child safety zones as a "knee-jerk reaction" by councilors who did not support the repeal of senior safety ...continued... by KELLY CATALFAMO Day Staff Writer

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