LAKE GEORGE - The Lake George Village Board passed a law Monday that limits the number of sex offenders that can live at once in a motel or hotel to six and requires the business to post a public notification that such individuals were staying on the premises.
This law requires motels and hotels and rooming houses hosting sex offenders to obtain a license, costing $3,000 per year, from the town government.
The law follows the towns of Warrensburg, Lake George, Queensbury and Lake Luzerne in passing such a law. The issue became a governmental concern months ago after a discovery that as many as 14 sex offenders were living simultaneously in the Best Inn motel in Queensbury, a situation that sparked public outcry. Area officials and citizens were concerned that the traveling public should be aware of a potential threat to their security - particularly the safety of single females and children.
These Warren County municipalities, one after another passed the law earlier this year, with local officials citing the concern that sex offenders would be moving from the prohibited areas into their respective town.
Those laws followed the legislation passed last year by the Town of Colonie., which has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union.
While just months ago, Village Board members had expressed reservations about enacting such a law because it might prompt expensive legal challenges, the board was silent Monday as they passed the measure. Accommodations hosting sex offenders have 30 days to obtain a license, or face a fine of $350.
Mayor Robert Blais noted this spring that very few Village motels or hotels would likely qualify to house sex offenders anyway, due to other pre-existing laws that prevent them from living within set distances from churches, schools, parks and playgrounds which are scattered throughout the village.