PLEASANT GROVE, Utah – Dozens of Pleasant Grove residents protested a zoning law that allows for sex offender rehabilitation centers in some neighborhoods.
Residents of the Utah County town submitted a 2-inch stack of signed petitions to the city council Tuesday and said they don't want a rehabilitation center set up near a childcare center.
Alliance Youth Services wants to set up a sex-offender rehabilitation center in the town about 300 feet away from the childcare center.
"They are putting youth who have been convicted of sexual crimes in the backyard of children, literally," Pleasant Grove resident David Lisonbee told the council and city staff.
Residents claim the company misrepresented which offenders would be housed in the proposed facility, omitting the severity of the crimes and the potential risk factor for the community.
A telephone message left for the company was not immediately returned to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
A zoning ordinance adopted in July allows for rehabilitation centers for sex offenders and those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse in some Pleasant Grove neighborhoods.
The planning commission rejected the Alliance Youth Services application in August. The company appealed to the board of adjustments, which agreed there was merit to a complaint about how the decision was made.
"It doesn't mean the commission's decision was wrong, it just means the board felt how they got to that decision was," said Sean Allen, Pleasant Grove city planner. "So the board will go through the steps again and make sure they do what is right."
A decision by the board is expected on Oct. 16.
If the board rules in the company's favor, residents could appeal the decision to the district court.