SANATOGA PA – A public hearing on Lower Pottsgrove‘s proposed sex offender residency law, which has been under consideration for the past eight months, will be scheduled for May 4 (2009; Monday) at the township municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd., the township Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night (April 6, 2009).
The board’s unanimous vote to set a hearing date was conducted in a reconvened public meeting, which followed discussion of the matter with its attorney in an executive session, township Manager Rod Hawthorne said Tuesday (April 7, 2009). The hearing will be advertised in The (Pottstown PA) Mercury, the township’s newspaper of record for legal notices.
The May date represents the board’s second attempt to solicit input on the local law that intends to prohibit state-registered adult sex offenders from living in any structure within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, open space, community center, or public park or recreational facility. An initial hearing had been scheduled for Jan. 22, but was canceled when the board recognized it lacked an engineer’s map specifying areas where sex offenders could and could not legally live.
The map is a key component in the law, township Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway has said. If individuals arrested for residency law violations challenged it in court, he noted in February, Lower Pottsgrove would need to prove that specific addresses fell within the banned zones “based on a map that meets professional engineering standards.”
It took the township engineering firm, Sanatoga-based Bursich Associates Inc., two months to create the map, at a cost of $8,000. An secondary benefit of Bursich’s work is that the township simultaneously updated its official map designating all housing subdivisions and other improvements. The last such revision occurred several years ago.
In its earlier legal notice, the township claimed “Sexual Offenders pose a high risk of engaging in further offenses after incarceration and release into (the) community, which affects the general safety, welfare, and best interests of the public.” It also said the state “has no laws which adequately prohibit or restrict Sexual Offenders from residing or living near areas where children regularly meet or congregate.”
Pennsylvania’s “Megan’s Law” requires the State Police to maintain a registry of anyone who lives, works or attends school in the state and has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to certain child or youth sex offenses. The state registry is available online. The law, which took effect in 1996, is named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered by a known offender.
- Map Need Delays Sex Offender Residency Law
- Considerate Commissioners Meet Tonight
- Surprise! Township Board Cancels Meeting
- Township Advertises Sex Offender Residency Law
- Township Moves Toward Sex Offender Residency Law
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ April 6 meeting):
Photo from Clipart.com