Staff Writer

Yarmouth voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum proposal to restrict where certain sex offenders can live in town.

The ordinance passed 4,110 to 1,430. It prevents registered sex offenders whose crimes involved children under age 14 from living with a 750-foot radius of a public or private school in town. The ordinance would created an exclusion zone that includes most of the Main Street business district and a residential area near the town’s three public schools. The rules would not apply to people who lived in a residence before the ordinance was imposed and would not apply to licensed nursing homes and other medical facilities.

There are three registered sex offenders living in Yarmouth. A restriction was proposed by residents a year ago, when Superintendent Andrew Dolloff informed parents that a registered sex offender had moved to Glen Road near the high school. Hundreds of people signed a petition in favor of residency restrictions earlier this year, but the Town Council voted to put the issue to voters instead of enacting an ordinance itself.

Proponents said the measure was a common-sense way to protect children and would create a healthy boundary for sex offenders. But opponents, including members of the Town Council, have said the ordinance is unnecessary and there is no proof sex offender residency restrictions work.

Voters at the polls Tuesday said they voted for the ordinance, even thought they hadn’t heard anything about it until they saw it on the ballot.

“I just think we need to keep them away from schools,” said David Millette, 52.

“I have no problem with them living here, but why give them the temptation?”

Peter McGuire — 791-6325

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Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire