June 19, 2013

Puyallup limits number of sex offenders, violent felons in halfway houses

6-19-2013 California:

PUYALLUP — The Puyallup City Council on Tuesday night approved an ordinance that will bar more than one registered sex offender or violent felon from living in any one halfway house in the city’s residential areas.

The move came after a man’s plan to transform a home in the South Hill neighborhood into a halfway house stirred public outrage. The community’s loud opposition started a year ago and it caused the city of Puyallup to put a temporary ban on all new halfway houses.

A final vote on halfway houses came Tuesday.

Under the new ordinance, in a residential area only a single sex offender or one violent felon can live at any one address. In addition, halfway houses can only operate in commercial or industrial zones with a special permit.

“I think what we have done is appropriate, proper and well thought-out; it’s a good ordinance,” Mayor Rick Hansen said.

Larry Parson would disagree. Parson is the man who wants to turn a house into a halfway house on Shaw Road. Parson said all he wanted to do was help veterans with a criminal past.

“If we didn’t look at the individual, and went (only) by the label, then that would be discrimination,” Parson said.

“We support veterans; we are absolutely supportive of that. What we are concerned about is two or more sex offenders living in a residential neighborhood,” said Steve Kirkelie, assistant city attorney for Puyallup.

Residents who lobbied all year for stricter regulations say this is an example of what can happen when a community comes together. ...continued... by Hana Kim

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