[HISTORY: Adopted by Town Meeting of the Town of North Reading as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 10-6-2014 OTM by Art. 18, approved 1-20-2015]
The public purpose of this by-law is to ensure and protect public safety in the Town of North Reading for its residents and children and improve the health, safety and welfare of the residents of North Reading by creating safe and secure areas around elderly housing locations and where children regularly congregate wherein individuals finally classified as Level 3 sex offenders by the Sex Offender Registry Board are prohibited from establishing a permanent residence.
After careful consideration, the Town finds that this by-law is narrowly tailored to limit, to the fullest extent possible, the opportunity for Level 3 registered sex offenders to approach or otherwise come into contact with children and senior citizens and that the health and safety of these populations is a compelling governmental interest that the Town seeks to protect.
This by-law is intended to create a civil nonpunitive regulatory scheme to promote public safety throughout Town and protect children and the elderly to the greatest extent possible. This by-law is intended to impose reasonable safety precautions and to mitigate the potential risk of harm to children and the elderly in Town.
The following definitions shall apply to this by-law unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- Any persons under eighteen (18) years of age.
- DAY-CARE CENTER
- Any establishment, whether public or private, which provides care for children and is registered and licensed pursuant to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Department of Early Education and Care.
- Any persons over fifty-five (55) years of age.
- ELDERLY HOUSING FACILITY
- Any building or buildings on the same lot containing four (4) or more dwelling units restricted to occupancy by households having one or more members fifty-five (55) years of age or older.
- ESTABLISH A PERMANENT RESIDENCE
- To set up a home, dwelling place or abode where a person sleeps, which may include more than one location, and may be mobile or transitory, or by means of purchasing real property or entering into a lease or rental agreement for real property.
- Any public land located within the Town of North Reading designated for active or passive recreational or athletic use by the Town of North Reading, including playgrounds.
- PERMANENT RESIDENCE
- A place where the person lives, abides, lodges, or resides for fourteen (14) or more consecutive days.
- Any public, religious or private educational facility that provides educational services to children in nursery through 12th grade.
- SCHOOL BUS STOP
- Any location in the Town of North Reading designated by a public or private school to pick up or drop off children for the purposes of educational transportation.
- SEX OFFENDER
- Shall have the same meaning as provided for in MGL c. 6, § 178C.
- SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY
- The commonwealth’s registry of sex offenders established and maintained pursuant to MGL c. 6, §§ 178C to 178P, inclusive.
It is unlawful for any sex offender who is finally classified as a Level 3 sex offender by the Sex Offender Registry Board, for as long as so classified, to establish a permanent residence within one thousand (1,000) feet of any elderly housing facility, school, day-care center, or park or within 250 feet of any school bus stop if, after written notice and a hearing before the Police Chief and/or his designee, the Police Chief and/or his designee determines that the Level 3 sex offender poses a risk to children and/or the elderly, and, therefore, residency should be limited in accordance with this section. At said hearing, the Police Chief may review all evidence presented by the Level 3 sex offender and review all available criminal justice information in making said determination. In accordance with this section, the Police Chief shall issue a written determination to said Level 3 sex offender within fourteen (14) days of such hearing.
To determine the minimum distance separations, the requirement shall be measured by following a straight line from the outer property line of the permanent residence to the nearest outer property line of an elderly housing facility, school, school bus stop, day-care center or park.
A person who is finally classified as a Level 3 sex offender by the Sex Offender Registry Board residing within one thousand (1,000) feet of an elderly housing facility, school, day care center or park or within 250 feet of any school bus stop, for as long as so classified does not commit a violation of this by-law if any of the following apply:
The Level 3 sex offender established the permanent residence and reported and registered said residence, in accordance with the Sex Offender Registry Law and any applicable regulations of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board, prior to the effective date of this by-law.
The elderly housing facility, school, day-care center, park, or school bus stop was established after the Level 3 sex offender established his/her permanent residence and reported and registered the permanent residence pursuant to the Sex Offender Registry Law and any applicable regulations of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.
The prohibition in § 145-3 above shall not be construed or enforced so as to prohibit a Level 3 sex offender from exercising his/her right to vote in any federal, state or municipal election, or from attending any religious service.
The Level 3 sex offender is required to serve a sentence at a jail, prison, juvenile facility, or other correctional institution or facility located within one thousand (1,000) feet of an elderly housing facility, school, day-care center, park, or within 250 feet of a school bus stop in the Town of North Reading or is admitted to and/or subject to an order of commitment at a public or private facility for the care and treatment of mentally ill persons pursuant to G.L. c. 123 located within one thousand (1,000) feet of an elderly housing facility, school, day-care center, park, or within 250 feet of a school bus stop in the Town of North Reading.
The finally classified Level 3 sex offender is a minor.
The North Reading Police Chief and his designee at the North Reading Police Department shall be charged with the enforcement of this by-law.
Violation of this by-law may be enforced through all lawful means in law by the Police Chief or his designee, including, but not limited to, enforcement by noncriminal disposition pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D. The penalties shall be as follows:
First offense: written notification by the Police Chief and/or his designee that the finally classified Level 3 sex offender has thirty (30) days to move, along with an opportunity for a hearing with the Police Chief and/or his designee.
Subsequent offense: This shall apply to any offender served or supplied with a notification of a first offense and an opportunity for a hearing that has failed to comply with all requirements of the notification within the thirty (30) day period: noncriminal fine of $300 issued by the Police Chief and/or his designee and written notification to the finally classified Level 3 sex offender’s landlord, parole officer and/or probation officer and the commonwealth’s Sex Offender Registry Board that said person has violated this by-law. Following the first offense, each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate violation.
This article shall be effective following compliance with MGL c. 40, § 32.