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Hearing set on sex offender law

Orchard Park Town Board members Wednesday night quickly scheduled a public hearing on a law on sex offenders in response to complaints from residents.

"This is ridiculous. This is Orchard Park," Gary Coviello of Berg Road told board members during Wednesday's regular meeting.

The town has three sex offenders, he said, and he urged the town to do something about it.

"These are our children we have to protect," Coviello said.

Councilman David Kaczor said the board asked the town attorney before the meeting to research local ordinances concerning sex offenders.

"The board is fully committed to establishing an ordinance and dealing with this issue," he said.

The board took the unusual move of interrupting the "business from the floor" section of the meeting, where residents address the board, to schedule a public hearing at 7 p.m. July 18. But they did not say what kind of legislation they would propose.

A number of local municipalities adopted ordinances several years ago that prohibit child sex offenders from living close to schools, day care centers and playgrounds.

According to the sex offender registry website operated by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, there are two Level 2 convicted sex offenders and one Level 3 offender living in the town. The website does not list Level 1 offenders, who are considered the lowest risk.

The registry was set up under Megan's Law, passed in 1996, requiring sexual offenders to register their residence.

Level 2 offenders have a moderate risk of repeating the crime, and Level 3 offenders have a high risk of repeating.

"You're not the first to come to the board in the last few days," Supervisor Janis Colarusso told Coviello.

Also Wednesday, the board scheduled a public hearing July 18 for an ordinance governing high grass.

Building Inspector Andrew Geist said the number of properties in foreclosure has increased, and many times no one is mowing the grass.