Charlotte neighborhood demands answers about half-way house for - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Charlotte neighborhood demands answers about half-way house for sex offenders

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The transitional house for sex offenders opened in early December on McAlpine Lane in the east side of Charlotte. For neighbors, the anger hasn't subsided.

"How did you let this happen?" One woman shouted to state and city officials who attended the town hall style meeting. "You should be ashamed. I voted for you. Ashamed."

Another neighbor insisted "these people need to be moved out of this neighborhood now" as the people in the room cheered.

Thursday's night meeting was the first time that residents on McAlpine Lane got a chance to speak their minds to state officials who allowed a half-way house for sex offenders to open at the end of the cul-du-sac. They're angry they weren't notified that sex offenders were moving in. The offenders at the half-way house have convictions that include kidnapping and sex crimes against kids.Many of the families on the street have little children.

"From 6:05 until 8:30 - six buses," said a resident. "Do you know how many children get off those buses."

"I've got grandkids and to think about the monsters you put in the community," one woman said. "Because me personally, I think all pedophiles should be put to death so they can't harm any other children."

State officials told the packed room that the Bradley Reid Corporation bought the property and won a bid to run the house for sex offenders recently released from prison, and are on probation. State officials said it was Bradley Reid's responsibility to notify residents.

State public safety workers said they checked to make sure the house was liveable, and that they also contacted the Sheriff's office to confirm the house met guidelines.

Back in December, WBTV uncovered that city officials granted the house a permit even though it wasn't properly zoned. Charlotte city officials corrected the zoning issue.

"If I had 2 girls besides this situation I would be mad as hell too, and I am mad," said State Representative Rodney Moore, who promised the community he would review legislation to see what changes can be made to prevent the situation from happening again. Rep. Moore said he would visit the neighborhood to get a better idea of what residents are experiencing.

"I don't know that I'm going to be able to sell my house," one woman said. "And, I'm afraid that I'm going to be stuck with two little girls up the road from a situation that I'm not comfortable with. Is there any remediation for people who want to leave?"

Another neighbor said her property value has dropped $22,000 since December.

Officials said the state is struggling to find housing for sex offenders about to be released from prison. As part of a pilot program, the state sent out request for proposals so organizations could bid to run transitional housing. The house on McAlpine Lane is one of two in the state. State officials said the other half- way house is in New Hanover County.

Still, neighbors at the meeting wanted to know why their street.

One asked "and you're telling me you call couldn't find some place in your own neighborhood where you could put these people?"

And they wanted to know if they were safe.

"Where you have sex offenders living beside you, you have to be very diligent," said Tracy Lee, the Judicial Manager of the Community Supervision Department. "To answer that honestly I would say no but you have to go back and do your research."

Lee said people have to know who is coming and going. He said the big concern is the sex offenders they don't know about.

Will state officials close the half way house as residents are demanding? Will the sex offenders leave?

"As of right now they're not going anywhere" Lee said. The state has a contract with Bradley Reid to run the house until the end of the fiscal year, and there's an option for another year. Unless Bradley Reid is running the house according to requirements, state officials said they can't terminate the contract.

Neighbors say they want the half-way house gone - and they don't plan to stay quiet about it.

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