Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

September 13, 2013

Sex offender registered riverfront as address; move to end camping

ASHLAND — A sex offender that registered his home address as an Ashland park has prompted city officials to prohibit overnight camping in all city parks.

Ashland City Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to give initial approval to prohibit overnight camping without prior special permission in city parks. The amended ordinances will need final approval to become law.

According to Ashland Police Chief Rob Ratliff, the move was prompted in part by a sex offender who had listed his address on the Kentucky State Police registry as Ashland’s Riverfront Park.

“This is not someone we want staying in our park,” said Ratliff. He declined to name the individual.

A search of the registry Thursday revealed there was no longer anyone registered at that address. There are more than 80 sex offenders registered in Boyd County, including 58 whose addresses are listed in Ashland.

The KSP’s phone systems were experiencing problems on Thursday and a public information officer could not be immediately reached. According to its website, the KSP “do not evaluate or approve particular locations for compliance with sex offender residence restrictions.” It is illegal for registered offenders to live within 1,000 feet of a high school, middle school, elementary school, preschool, publicly owned playground or a licensed day care facility.

Ratliff said the man was not the only individual spending the night in city parks. The ban, he said, will protect both the parks and citizens.

“If you allow any camping you open the door to people camping. Under certain circumstances you don’t want that in our parks,” he said.

In recent years, especially during the warm summer months,  there have often been transients who have camped along the riverfront.

“It is just a place for them to go, now with it being developed, it’s inviting for them to go down there. They have some resources there. It is just a good spot for them, not necessarily us,” said Ratliff.

 City Attorney Richard “Sonny” Martin said officials believed camping was previously banned under the ordinance but the amendments were needed to ”clarify that it is not a permitted use.” He confirmed the request to change the ordinance had come from APD, which had a “reoccurring problem with transients,” including folks with “felony backgrounds.”

Ashland Parks and Recreation Director Sean Murray said he felt the change was in the best interest of citizens and Ashland parks. Groups and individuals, he said, can still apply to the city to hold an overnight event. That request would then need to be approved by commissioners.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com

Text Only
Local News
  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • guyp-rodnew.jpg 'Uplifting people'

    The snow kept gospel singer Guy Penrod chilling a little longer than it should have this spring.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raising the roof

    Leaks will soon be a thing of the past at Star Elementary School, where workers are busy putting up a new roof.

    April 18, 2014

  • Fire at Russell care facility

    A care facility for the elderly in Russell was temporarily evacuated following a fire in the kitchen Wednesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Incumbent, newcomer vie for PVA position

    A longtime office-holder is facing a rare primary challenge in the Greenup County property valuation administrator race.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs: 4/18/14

    Inspections and roadway patching on Ky. 773’s twin bridges in Carter County will require daytime closures Wednesday and Thursday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Corps issues safety advice to boaters

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District, reminds boaters the areas immediately upstream and downstream of navigation dams on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers have been designated as restricted areas. 

    April 17, 2014

  • Police beat: 4/18/14

    The following information was taken from Ashland Police Department reports:

    April 17, 2014

  • Lana Bellamy: Waking up America's youth: 4/18/14

    I once read a quote by a man saying the reason today’s youth do not have the same “spunk” as youth in the past is because they do not have inspiration.

    April 17, 2014