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Residents seek to oust sexually violent predator center

| May 16, 2013 | Land Use & Zoning |

Residents in the small municipality of Hulmeville, where just a little more than a thousand people live, are up in arms over the operation there of a treatment facility for sexually violent offenders. The offenders do not reside there, but pass through the community on their way to their treatment sessions. Residents would like the commercial property owners who own the center’s location to banish the center.

The center has a lease, but residents passed out around 350 leaflets in the neighborhood, urging like-minded persons to attend a local Borough Council meeting where the issue will be discussed. There are only four such treatment facilities in Bucks County. Those treated are designated sexually violent predators under state law, and these centers are certified to treat that condition.

The group that runs the center is also involved in helping the homeless, intellectually disabled people, and those seeking to recover from substance abuse. The center gets referred patients by state parole and probation agencies and must themselves pay a fee for the counseling provided.

The controversial center has been in operation for approximately two years, but evidently local residents were not aware of what it did until recently. One homeowner who lives across the street from it noted that it was within two miles of a local elementary school, and stated that police who patrol the area did not know until recently the nature of the center’s services.

The mayor of Hulmeville indicated that he believed that the center lacked an occupancy permit, and stated that, without it, the center may be prohibited from staying in business under local zoning laws. An official of a state agency charged with overseeing sexual offenders said that she knows of no current state law restricting where a treatment facility for sexually violent predators can be located. She also asserted that the patients attending the center were doing the right thing by seeking treatment.

Source:  PhillyBurbs.com, “Treatment center for sexually violent predators has Hulmeville residents upset” Danny Adler, May. 06, 2013

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