Nearly 40 people showed up to the North Utica Senior Center to discuss the issue of the homeless and sex offenders being housed at North Genesee Street motels.

Councilwoman Samantha Colosimo-Testa organized the Wednesday night meeting and said the goal of the event was simple.

"We've been just talking about this for a long time and nobody has actually been in one room together to clarify any of the information," Colosimo-Testa said. "It's always been me defending it, the city defending it, the county defending it. So, it's going to be nice to get everybody in the same room to discuss the issue."

Among those in attendance were Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri, Probation Director David Tomidy and Director of Social Services Lucille Soldato.

School Board member Donald Dawes was also at the event. He says he's looking to see what can be done to remedy the situation without hurting those who need help the most.

"The sad thing is there are people that need the help," Dawes said. "Unfortunately, you can't look and see if a person is a sex offender or if it's just a family in need of a place to stay. Somewhere there has to be an answer, and maybe if we ask enough questions the state will get involved. I know our legislators do a great job and I know they'll work toward resolving this."

Other topics covered during the meeting included calls to police regarding noise complaints, other neighborhood issues, and zoning concerns surrounding the former Davis Motel property.

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