Sex offenders who had been living in controversial group homes on a residential road in West Seneca have moved elsewhere, The Buffalo News learned Saturday.
At least one person is currently living in North Collins, said Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns, D-Buffalo, who has been a vocal critic of the group homes at 510 and 526 Leydecker Road.
Since December 2014, there were a total of seven sex offenders living in the group homes, said Kearns, who added that they were classified as Level 2 and 3 offenders.
“The whole community was fearful, because they were adjacent to a park,” Kearns said.
Town Councilman Eugene P. Hart in West Seneca confirmed the move.
“They’re all gone,” Hart said. “They are out of the buildings – they’re gone.”
The councilman said that the news brings varying emotions.
“It’s kind of a mixed feeling for us,” Hart said.
He said that although the change is good for West Seneca, there is a downside.
“Now, the problem has been passed off to another community,” he said.
The two group homes on Leydecker have been a source of controversy in the Southtowns community for the past several years.
After the sex offenders moved into the Leydecker homes, neighbors in the residential area of the town launched protests.
A report in The News in February 2014 described a protest by people outside the group homes – as well as efforts to obtain more information on the development.
“These guys know they’re not welcome here,” one West Seneca resident was quoted as saying.
Previous News stories about the controversy described the sex offenders as also having developmental disabilities.
Kearns’ efforts were noted in news stories over the past two years for trying to get information on the situation from the state’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.
The meaning for people who live in Western New York is one of awareness, Kearns said at the time, adding, “You have to be vigilant and be aware, and sign up to be notified when a sex offender moves into your neighborhood.”
Kearns on Saturday announced that he would hold a news conference about the developments at 4:30 p.m. Sunday outside the Leydecker homes.