Log In   ·   Become A Member

Hamptons Real Estate: Where Can a Sex Offender Reside?

John A. Viteritti

Protesters in Riverhead in 2006 make their point. (File Photo)

In 2007, the Town of Southampton enacted Town Law S:215 which prohibits sex offenders from residing within one mile of any school located in any school district that does not offer and fund transportation services to school for all students living within one mile of their respective school. The law also prohibits sex offenders from residing within two thousand feet of any school located in any school district that offers and funds transportation services to school for all students living within one mile of their respective school. Additionally, sex offenders may not reside within two thousand feet of any child-care facility or municipal recreational facility.

Suffolk County Local Law S:428, passed in 2006, prohibits sex offenders from residing within ¼ mile of the property line of any school, including, but not limited to any public or private nursery, elementary, middle or high school, or any licensed day-care center, or playground.

According to a March 30, 2012, Eastern District Court Decision, Moore v. County of Suffolk, the residency laws in Suffolk County and the Town of Southampton may violate law.

The plaintiff claimed, in a civil rights action, that the local residency laws effectively made the entire county off limits to registered sex offenders. According to an article that appeared in the New York Law Journal, the attorney for the plaintiff said he expects that the court's decision "will lead to the elimination of residency restrictions in Suffolk County and in the Town of Southampton." He further claimed that the residency restrictions are "probably unconstitutional." The issue has not been finally resolved although the judge in the case did signal that he will rule for the plaintiff, Duane Moore, should he ask the court for a ruling on the facts.

The NYLJ article also states that critics of residency restrictions like those in this case take the position that "sex offenders who are unable to find an affordable place to live often become transient or homeless, making it difficult to monitor and undermine the aim of the Sex Offender Registration Act which was enacted in 1996 so police and citizens would know the whereabouts of convicted offenders."

Dr. Edelgard, a professor of psychology at the University of Albany says, "If you restrict the possibilities of where these people can live...you create an accumulation of sex offenders in a particular area. That is not desirable."

The judicial system has always been sensitive to creating circumstances or permitting things to happen that may seem perfectly reasonable when looked at from one perspective but may have unintended consequences which may adversely affect the community. The common law right to acquire ownership of land through adverse possession is a case in point. Fallow land deprives society of the benefits provided by developed land. Courts give tenants subject to eviction for non-payment of rent every opportunity to remain in occupancy until they find alternate housing. We also are seeing this with respect to mortgage foreclosures. To do otherwise could create a homeless problem imposing a burden on society. In loft buildings in New York City, residents were allowed to occupy as "squatters" for pretty much the same reason. Bankruptcy laws are founded on the same principle. If you do not allow people to discharge debt they could become burdens to society. How many debtors' prisons would we have to build? This is also an inference in Moore v. County of Suffolk.

Balanced against this is society's right to pass laws to protect itself. According to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, there are approximately 1,000 sex offenders living in Suffolk County, more than twice as many as living in Nassau County. It is more than a philosophical and a legal question. It is also a practical one which does not appear to have an easy solution.

John is a St. John's University graduate, licensed Real Estate broker, lecturer, teaches real estate license classes at LIU, NYU, and Cook Maran Real Estate School, and is a well-respected consultant to the real estate industry. www.johnaviteritti.com

Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is the sky?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
Gary R. DePersia, Corcoran Real Estate
With over $2 billion in transactions, Gary DePersia is consistently ranked among the top producers in the Hamptons. A year-on-year member of The Corcoran Group President’s Council, he has qualified as a national list maker since 2007. In the 2016 REAL Trends & The Wall Street Journal list of America’s top real estate professionals, he was designated #22 nationally and #5 in the Hamptons by volume with nearly $200 million of transactions for the past year.

East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Bridgehampton National Bank
For over 100 years Bridgehampton National Bank has been the East End's hometown bank. Many success stories...one bank, BNB!

Advertise on Hamptons.com - Have your business be seen by over 2 million viewers including NEW searches
Hamptons.com- Our exclusive online magazine has 2.6 million Page Views YTD for 2015. Contact us to join our elite group of clients that benefit from having a presence on the Hamptons award winning publication www.Hamptons.com

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Hampton Coffee Company is dedicated to making sure you have the best possible experience with our brand, whether you visit one of our cafés, our Mobile Unit, one of our wholesale partners, order through our website, or purchase our coffee on the supermark
We strongly believe that one of the most important parts of being a successful business in the community is truly becoming a part of it. Hampton Coffee Company is proud to support more than 100 different local charities, schools, and organizations each and every year. It is our pleasure to participate in events that are important to our staff and our customers.