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Shawnee to discuss sex offender treatment centers

By Ann Kelley Published: May 15, 2008
SHAWNEE — A proposed city ordinance that would make it difficult for sex offender treatment centers to open near residential areas will be discussed by planning commissioners today.

The planning commission meets at 1:30 p.m. in city hall.

The ordinance was drafted by city staff after controversy arose over plans for a treatment center to open at 1401 E Highland.

The center would have backed up to a residential neighborhood, and been within blocks of an elementary school and a church.

Holly Chandler, owner of the building, said she is abandoning her plans to open the facility after her building was vandalized and she received death threats.

City Manager Jim Collard said the intention of the proposed ordinance is to limit placing treatment centers for sex offenders to commercial and industrial zones, and require a city commission-approved special permit to open them.

The ordinance is more stringent than state law, which requires sex offenders stay at least 300 feet away from schools, playgrounds and day care centers.

The new regulation would push the distance for a counseling center for sex offenders to a minimum 1,000 feet.

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