By Hope E. Tremblay
Special to The Republican
WESTFIELD – The City Council’s legislative and ordinance subcommittee Thursday took the first step toward repealing a local ordinance that unconstitutionally restricts where registered sex offenders may live or visit.
The motion to repeal the ordinance was made by Chairman Ralph J. Figy, who said a decision by the state Supreme Judicial Court indicates the ordinance goes against the state constitution.
First Assistant City Solicitor Shanna R. Reed said Westfield has not received any notification from the state regarding the ordinance, but other cities have.
“There was a case against the city of Lynn that had a similar ordinance,” Reed said. “A lot of communities have them.”
Reed wrote Westfield’s ordinance in 2011. Forty other communities in the state had similar ordinances at the time, she said. She said town bylaws must be reviewed by the state attorney general. “So even the attorney general thought it was OK,” she said.
The state’s Sex Offender Registry, created in 1999, requires comprehensive data about registered sex offenders. The SJC ruled that was all any community needed, Reed said.
“They said it’s enough and we can’t go beyond that,” she said.
Westfield’s sex offender ordinance exceeded the state laws simply by existing, said Reed.