West Seneca lawmakers are asking the state to review its policy on the placement of convicted sex offenders, with Town Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan encouraging the governor to join her for a walk through the neighborhood where several of them ended up late last year.
The Town Board unanimously adopted a resolution Monday night requesting that review.
In particular, they want the state to look at its use of group homes to house offenders requiring state care and at notifying neighbors and the school district, “especially when they are placed in large groups like the present situation,” Meegan said.
In late December, seven men were relocated from a locked and segregated section of the state’s Monroe Developmental Center, Rochester, which was closing, to two group homes on Leydecker Road that originally were established to encourage independence for the developmentally disabled.
The West Seneca Developmental Center contacted town police in early January to register the new addresses of the sex offenders, as required by law.
But neighbors and other town officials were alarmed at the lack of additional notification in the community. Word spread quickly about the sex offenders living in the residential neighborhood near a popular park and softball fields.
Police Chief Daniel Denz subsequently met with the staff at the group homes and toured the facilities, to check on their security systems and procedures.
“They’re as secure as can be,” Denz said at a Town Board meeting in March.
Monday night, Meegan suggested another location for housing the sex offenders.
“I strongly encourage the placement of all such sex offenders into Building 29 on state-owned property, as opposed to placing such individuals on the perimeter of said property,” she said. Building 29 was a secure structure on the site of the former West Seneca State School, off East and West Road. Leydecker Road is along the eastern edge of that campus.
“I would encourage our governor to walk with me and see the effects of a decision made by those whom I can only assume have very little understanding of the impact of such placement on the families in our town or any town for that matter,” Meegan said.
The supervisor said she’s been in touch with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office, adding that the governor was “stunned” about what happened.
“I strongly support the supervisor ... in this important effort,” Councilman Gene Hart said Monday.
“There’s no reason why these sex offenders should be placed in these group homes” adjacent to residences where children live, Hart said. “The state school’s a much better location.”