Q13 FOX News reporter
1:24 AM EDT, September 26, 2012
City of Puyallup council members extended a moratorium Tuesday on all halfway houses within city limits, after a planned residence for sex offenders had city residents fired up.
More than 300 people attended a public meeting to speak against a planned halfway house for sex offenders and felons in a neighborhood that included several elementary schools and bus stops.
Neighbors said the planned housing posed a danger to their children.
"We just don't want that kind of element here," said neighbor Katherine Kirby. "There is a lot of kids in this neighborhood, a lot of young families... I just feel very exposed."
Larry Parson, the owner of a vacant house in the 2000 block of Shaw Road, said he wanted to turn his home into a halfway house for military veterans that were sex offenders and convicted felons. He hoped to convert the 4,900-square-foot house into a home that would help military veterans like himself.
"This is not just a handout, but a hand up in their time of need," Parson said.
Level 3 sex offenders would not be allowed in the house, Parson said. He understood the people had a checkered past, but wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.
"If we didn't look at the individual and went by the label, then that would be discrimination," Parson said.
After initial outcry, a temporary moratorium was put in place in July to ban new halfway houses. On Tuesday, the Puyallup City Council renewed that moratorium. Neighbors couldn't be happier.
"This is not about whether this is for a good cause but the appropriate-ness of this location," one neighbor said at the meeting.