Following a year of public debate, the Puyallup City Council finally made a 7-0 approval of an ordinance that will prohibit the clustering of two or more sex offenders from living in the same residence in any residential zone in the City of Puyallup.
The ordinance does allow a property owner to locate a dwelling with two or more sex offenders or violent felons in the Central Business District but it requires the property owner to submit for and receive a conditional use permit. In addition, a property owner must apply for a "significant impact business" business license and the city is allowed to impose additional conditions in that business license to address harmful impacts on the community from the property.
There was concern at the Tuesday night council meeting by some that the ordinance will undoubtedly be challenged in court. But council members unanimously decided the necessity to serve the public trumped the possibility of a future lawsuit.
"What we've done is proper and well thought out," Mayor Rick Hansen said. "Every time you break ground and do something new, it will be looked at. I hope cities will look at it and think, 'you know, Puyallup got it right.'"
State Senator Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, was in attendance, as was Julie Door, who congratulated the council and city staff on the accomplishment.
Councilmember Kent Boyle said Julie Door was the catalyst that got the whole process going and kept the momentum.
The District 3 resident was instrumental in the grassroots effort and encouraging residents to travel to Olympia and speak on the issue, Boyle added.
"It was Julie Door prodding us that kept council and staff going on this," Boyle said.
Door recognized District 3 resident Tina Burns for first bringing it to her attention about the proposed halfway house off Shaw Road that was proposed to house multiple sex offenders. That sparked a well-attended public meeting at the Pioneer Park Pavilion on Aug. 2, 2012.
Door will be running in the fall General Election for the District 3 Position 2 seat on the Puyallup City Council against Chris McNutt, a member on the Puyallup Planning Commission. Councilmember Boyle has decided against running for a second term.