Falmouth council OKs residency rules for sex offenders, mooring wait-list fees

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FALMOUTH — Sex offenders convicted of raping or molesting children can no longer move into homes near town schools or playgrounds.

The Town Council on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance that prohibits convicted child molesters from moving into homes within 750 feet of schools or municipally owned playgrounds.

The council also supported a change in the way the town handles the waiting list for boat moorings at Town Landing.

The sex offender ordinance was introduced last year by Police Chief Edward Tolan to take advantage of a state law that allows towns to make these kinds of restrictions.

Tolan previously said state law prohibits requiring sex offenders to live further than 750 feet because “some towns were going overboard, saying sex offenders couldn’t live within five miles of a school,” which basically made it impossible for them to live in the town at all.

Tolan said Falmouth does not have any sex offenders living within the restricted area. If it did, the Police Department could not have forced the person to leave. The ordinance only applies to sex offenders moving to town after its Jan. 9 adoption.

At Town Landing, boat owners interested in remaining on the waiting list for moorings will have to pay $10 per year to stay there. After a mooring is assigned, all the money paid in fees will be applied to the cost of the mooring: $57 per year for residents, $257 for non-residents.

The changes also establish a new hierarchy for who will be issued moorings, beginning with resident fishermen, followed by resident recreational boat owners; commercial passenger boats; resident commercial marine enterprises; residents with an additional moorings; non-resident recreational boats, and several more categories.

In other business, the council also gave consensus approval for the Falmouth Economic Improvement Committee to begin work on an ordinance that would allow businesses to put up temporary signs advertising sales or events on their properties.

Temporary signs, with the exception of election signs, are now illegal.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.