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Sex-offender restrictions sought

Sex offenders will find it more difficult to take up residence in the city if a proposal aired during a City Council conference meeting Monday wins approval.

Sixth Ward Council Member Rose Mary Christian is pushing the adoption of a law restricting where convicted sex offenders can live. She said 63 municipalities in the state have similar restrictions. Her concern was prompted by those raised in her neighborhood, where a Level 3 offender is reported to have taken up residence recently.

She pointed to other communities that restrict sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and day care facilities. The city has eight schools, many parks and several day care operations.

City police say there are 61 registered sex offenders in this city of 16,000 residents. Genesee County has 145 sex offenders -- more than half at Levels 1 and 2.

Christian, the Council's longest-serving member, says the law is designed to protect children. Several people spoke out in support of her plan, warning of "potential predators in public places."

The Council also discussed the New York Main Street Program, through which the Office of Community Renewal can provide as much as $500,000 to help revitalize business and residential properties in downtown or Main Street districts. Property owners could seek $25,000 per unit to provide half the cost.

The goal of the program is to help as many as 10 properties downtown, as well as other selected targets. The revised plan was adopted unanimously.

The Business Improvement District, an association of downtown and near center-city business owners and operators, will partner with the city on the grant application of $300,000 or less and would administer the program.

In a similar proposal, City Manager Jason R. Molino was instructed to proceed with fair-housing and anti-displacement plans to meet federal civil rights requirements -- a necessary step for the city to secure a community development block grant from the state. The Council also voted unanimously to approve Molino as the city's fair-housing officer.

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