Reedsburg considers allowing registered sex offenders to live closer to child safety zones

The Reedsburg Common Council is considering a proposal that would scale back on the restrictions imposed on registered sex offenders.

The proposal includes new rules such as incorporating due process where offenders can appeal which restrictions apply to them, adding to the list of child safety zones to include the Reedsburg Recreation Center, golf courses, the public library, the Boys and Girls Club, movie theaters and tutoring facilities, incorporating that written notice be approved should a sex offender want/ need to enter a child safety zone, and scaling back the restriction on where a sex offender can live from 1,500 feet away from a child safety zone to 1,250 feet.

City Administrator Tim Becker said the decision to relax the restrictions came after reviewing challenges in case law that required the city to review its ordinances around sex offenders.

Becker said with the current restrictions of 1,500 feet, sex offenders hardly had any options of where they could live within city limits.

“If the ordinance is so encompassing and the restricted area is so large that it covers your entire town, it doesn’t permit any designated offenders to live anywhere,” Becker said.

By scaling back the rules by 250 feet, it would open up several neighborhoods for sex offenders to live in.

“We proposed the 1.250 because it was more inclusive,” Becker said.

Jory Jasper, who lives in one of the neighborhoods where sex offenders could potentially live if the proposal passes, said he is not in favor of the changes.

“Obviously (it’s) not good. I have a 6-year-old. I would worry about her nonstop,” Jasper said. “I don’t even always lock my doors to be honest with you. But I would then. I would be worried about someone sneaking in, breaking in or my daughter riding her bike down the street.”

Becker said for those who are worried about the changes, “We can show them the maps, and we can show them the lack of sex offenders that do live in the city limits within Reedsburg.”

There are currently 9 registered sex offenders living in Reedsburg.

Jasper said having any sex offender, regardless of how many, living nearby would make him uncomfortable.

“Close is close. Knock a couple more feet off? They’re close enough that it bothers me,” Jasper said.

Becker said he hopes that residents show up to the next city meeting at 7 p.m. on January 13 to voice their concerns on the proposal before a final vote is made.

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