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Colonie inspections begin at Central Ave. motels

Although the legislation Benedict proposed last week lost much of its muscle, it's still playing a part in cleaning up the facilities, especially as word got out that inspectors will be visiting, unannounced, other motels not on her list.

"Since all of this has been exposed, a lot of the motels you are seeing the workers outside doing work. If Colonie is on a mission to bring these motels up to code, then I'm sure that they will," Benedict said.

She said it needs to be done because there is a larger issue at the heart of her recent legislative action: What to do with the county's sex offenders.

Benedict sat in on a Schenectady County legislative hearing Wednesday, Aug. 22, where lawmakers discussed a 2,000-foot residency restriction on sex offenders. Benedict, like many leaders in Albany and Schenectady county were wary of the legislation because they feared it could push sex offenders into hill towns, underground or onto the Central Avenue corridor in Benedict's district.

Now not only will some of those Central Avenue motels serve Albany County's sex offenders placed by Albany County Social Services, but Schenectady's as well. Benedict described it a pinning one county against another.

Schenectady county legislators passed new legislation that prohibits level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living with 2,000 feet from anywhere children frequent. Level one, sex offenders are exempt from the residency restriction.

Albany County requires that the sex offenders live outside of 1,000 feet from such areas.

Town Supervisor Mary Brizzell said she shares Benedict's concerns, but is quick to point the finger at the county for placing the responsibility for the condition of the hotels solely on Colonie.

"It's kind of like the sign law. You can't go out and do every illegal sign in the town. You get a complaint, and we go out and investigate it," said Brizzell.

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