PUYALLUP — The Puyallup City Council on Tuesday night approved an ordinance that will bar more than one registered sex offender or violent felon from living in any one halfway house in the city’s residential areas.
The move came after a man’s plan to transform a home in the South Hill neighborhood into a halfway house stirred public outrage. The community’s loud opposition started a year ago and it caused the city of Puyallup to put a temporary ban on all new halfway houses.
A final vote on halfway houses came Tuesday.
Under the new ordinance, in a residential area only a single sex offender or one violent felon can live at any one address. In addition, halfway houses can only operate in commercial or industrial zones with a special permit.
“I think what we have done is appropriate, proper and well thought-out; it’s a good ordinance,” Mayor Rick Hansen said.
Larry Parson would disagree. Parson is the man who wants to turn a house into a halfway house on Shaw Road. Parson said all he wanted to do was help veterans with a criminal past.
“If we didn’t look at the individual, and went (only) by the label, then that would be discrimination,” Parson said.
“We support veterans; we are absolutely supportive of that. What we are concerned about is two or more sex offenders living in a residential neighborhood,” said Steve Kirkelie, assistant city attorney for Puyallup.
Residents who lobbied all year for stricter regulations say this is an example of what can happen when a community comes together
“Our city had a big win today; we think it is important the citizens understand that. Thank you all,” said one resident.
“It was all because of hard work and dedication,” said Puyallup resident Theresa Fremont.
Fremont, along with a city council member ,applauded resident Julie Door for leading the fight to get the ordinance passed.
Door lives about a mile away from Parson’s home. She says Parson should help veterans but in a responsible way.
“I hope he proceeds in a positive manner and he engages the community and proceeds with this veteran angle,” said Door.
Tuesday night, Parson said he would continue with his plans to house veterans in that house on Shaw Road. But he said he would abide by the city’s new law
The Puyallup City Council’s decision comes on the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee signing a new bill into law that gives Washington cities more oversight of halfway houses.