By Richard Conn
EDGEWATER - An ordinance that pushes sex offenders 2,500 feet — instead of 1,000 feet — away from schools, parks, playgrounds and other places where children typically gather is now on the books.
The City Council unanimously approved the second and final reading Monday of a law that bars restricted sex offenders or designated sexual predators from living within 2,500 feet of “any public or private school, child care facility, park, designated library, church, playground (minipark, recreational open space, playground) or other place where children regularly congregate.”
State law prohibits sex offenders whose victims were younger than 16 from living within 1,000 feet of such places. With Monday’s vote, Edgewater joins cities such as Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Deltona and Palm Coast that have extended that distance requirement to 2,500 feet.
Sex offenders or predators are exempted from the distance requirement only if they established residence before the law change passed, or if the school, library, church or other facilities covered by the ordinance were built after they began living at the residence.
The ordinance change also prohibits landlords from knowingly renting to sex offenders or predators within the 2,500 foot boundary.
While school bus stops were listed among the prohibited areas in the initial draft of the ordinance it didn’t make the cut when the council passed the ordinance on first reading. City Manager Tracey Barlow said Tuesday it would have been “extremely problematic” for Volusia County Schools officials — already challenged to meet the state’s 1,000 foot requirement — to locate bus stops around the city.
Each violation of the ordinance could be punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
FL - Edgewater approves sex offender law