Brevard County commissioners reaffirmed their tough stance toward registered sex offenders by making only making minor changes to a regulation limiting where they can go — even as the measure is being challenged in court.
The commission updated section 74 of the county code on Tuesday to allow businesses to register as a park so long as the business is used for recreation and is a place that children regularly visit. That will enable the owner to create a 1,000-foot buffer zone prohibiting any individual on the sex offender registry from visiting the site or transacting business.
The ordinance that was codified back in 2020 extended the restrictions on registered sex offenders from an ordinance passed back in 2006, barring people on the registry from entering within 1,000 feet of a school or recreation area, such as a park or gymnasium where children may be present.
That 2020 update extended the prohibition to businesses, applying the rule to businesses that register with the county to be included in the definition of a park. The measure was marred by controversy even then, with advocates, along with friends and family of registered sex offenders, attending the meetings and urging commissioners to reconsider.
“It’s disappointing that it took a lawsuit before the Brevard County Commissioners would honor our clients’ right to free speech and to address their elected representatives,” said Jessica Travis, a local attorney helping registered offenders with their case. “You don’t have to like our clients’ history to appreciate that all United States citizens have constitutional rights.”