LAKE GEORGE - The town board of Lake George is considering a law that would limit the number of sex offenders that could live at once in a motel or hotel and require the business to post a public notification that such individuals were on the premises.
This law, scheduled for a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday March 31, would require motels and hotels hosting sex offenders to apply for and obtain a license, costing $3,000 per year, from the town government.
Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy said Monday he proposed the idea locally following the actions of the towns of Queensbury and Lake Luzerne in considering such a law, particularly after it was recently discovered that as many as 14 sex offenders were living simultaneously in the Best Inn motel on Big Boom Rd. in Queensbury. That situation prompted alarm among area officials and citizens that the traveling public should be aware of a potential threat to their security and the safety of particularly single females and children.
McCoy said that was why Lake George was now considering the motel/hotel licensing law.
"If Queensbury and Lake Luzerne enact strict laws, we're going to get inundated," he said. "I propose we enact a law also - although it may end up in court someday - because I don't want us to be the community that houses all Warren County's sex offenders."
He said Lake George's proposed "sex offender" law, actually a law limiting the practices of public accommodations under state land-use laws, was patterned after Queensbury's and Lake Luzerne's pending ordinances, which followed the legislation passed recently by the Town of Colonie.
Lake George town resident and former town board member George McGowan said the Colonie law was already under attack by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Such a law would never, ever pass a Constitutional test," he said, noting that it was unconstitutional to restrict one single class of convicted criminals under land-use laws.
He commented that such a law licensing motels and hotels would continue to allow them to host murderers, drug dealers and terrorists, for instance.
Lake George town board member Fran Heinrich said she was concerned about the cost of potential court challenges to the law.
"It bothers me that if this law is ever contested, it could tie us up and cost us a lot of money," she said. "But we should have it."