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Colonie OKs fee for motels that house sex offenders

The Colonie Town Board unanimously passed the second part of a two-part plan to limit the number of sex offenders living in one area Thursday, Aug. 20, with a law that would require hotel and motel owners who take in sex offenders to pay an annual licensing fee.

Resolution 436 sets that annual fee at $1,500 for facilities with 50 or fewer occupancies and $3,000 for facilities with 51 or more occupancies, Councilman Bob Becker explained before the vote.

The law, coupled with one that would restrict the number of sex offenders living in a hotel or motel, is expected to prevent clusters of sex offenders living in one particular area, according to town officials.

Under the first resolution, the sex offenders are assigned points based on the level of their offenses. For example, a Level 1 sex offender would carry with them one point; a Level 2, two points; and a Level 3, three points.

An establishment that has 50 or fewer units would be allowed six points of sex offenders and are able to divide that however they choose, whether it be six Level 1 offenders, three Level 2 offenders, two Level 3 offenders, or some other combination.

An establishment with 51 units or more is permitted to have nine points of sex offenders.

The law was adopted in response to recent concerns about the number of sex offenders living in hotels on a stretch of Central Avenue in the western part of Colonie, due to Albany County placement. Town Attorney Michael Magguilli said the county pays the establishments $45 per day to house sex offenders.

Colonie Chief of Police Steven Heider has said that surrounding communities' strict laws, which prevent sex offenders from living within a certain distance of a playground, school or other area well-populated with children, have forced many sex offenders into the Town of Colonie and caused the number of sex offenders living permanently in the town to more than double in recent years.

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