Following the influx of multiple sex offenders to a motel in New Paltz, the Town of New Paltz passed a law that would limit the number of sex offenders allowed to live in one building.
Seven registered sex offenders moved into the Econo Lodge Motel in New Paltz between Oct. 10 and Nov. 2. Following the publication of an article notifying students of this, one more level three sex offender moved into the motel on Nov. 12, increasing the count to eight registered sex offenders: seven level threes and one level two.
There was such a large influx of sex offenders to New Paltz because no properties in the area were accepting level three offenders until the Econo Lodge stepped forward.
In response to community backlash following the news of even more offenders moving into town, the Town of New Paltz held a public hearing on Nov. 12. In the same meeting, Local Law was unanimously passed to add Chapter 92 “Hotels and Motels” to the Town of New Paltz Code.
Chapter 92 requires that any hotel or motel looking to provide accommodation to a registered sex offender must first obtain a license from the Town. In the application for a license, “the name of the person convicted, the date thereof, the nature of the crime, [and] the court in which the conviction was entered and the punishment imposed,” need to be recorded.
“Right now New Paltz just seems like we’re the path of least resistance and what we’re trying to do is provide a level of resistance here, and force the state to come up with a better plan instead of just dumping everyone here in New Paltz,” said Town Supervisor Neil Bettez during the Nov. 12 public hearing. “I don’t think it’s good for the town of New Paltz, I don’t think it’s good for the people that are just getting dumped in the Econo Lodge. I think that the state could do a better job, and unless we forced them to do a better job, I don’t think they will.”
According to the recently passed Chapter 92, a licence would not be given for anyone with a felony or Class A misdemeanor in certain articles of the New York State Penal Law, which include Article 130: Sex Offenses.
To help limit the number of sex offenders in one building, Chapter 92 also includes a point system to determine how many sex offenders, and what level of sex offenders, can live together in one building.
A level one sex offender is assigned one “occupancy point,” a level two is assigned two points and a level three is assigned three points. Hotels and motels “with 50 or fewer units are granted a total of six occupancy points,” according to Chapter 92. Hotels and motels with more than 50 units are granted nine occupancy points.
With the eight sex offenders living in the Econo Lodge Motel, this would put them at 23 occupancy points.
Any hotels or motels with sex offenders already in their housing, such as the Econo Lodge, have up to 30 days from the effective date to apply for their licences. If the licenses are not granted, they will not be allowed to house those sex offenders.
A license may not be granted if the “operation of the hotel or motel may be detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of guests of said hotel or motel or the inhabitants of the town,” according to the law.
University Police Chief Mary Ritayik reminds students and community members to stay aware in her email notifying students of the additional sex offender.
“As a reminder, UPD wants the campus community to know that we continue to provide police services around the clock ensuring the safety of everyone on our campus,” Ritayik wrote. “In addition, the Campus Escort Service (845-257-3338) continues to provide walking escorts from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week while students are on campus.”