There are more sex offenders moving to New Smyrna Beach and that has prompted city leaders to consider shrinking the locations where both sexual offenders and sexual predators can legally live.
There are more sex offenders moving to New Smyrna Beach and that has prompted city leaders to consider shrinking the locations where they can legally live.
If that happens, though, a civil rights group may decide to fight it.
“The ACLU has threatened to sue if we do this,” said Mayor Russ Owen when asked about the proposed ordinance Thursday in a phone interview. The mayor inferred that course of action in response to a media interview given recently by a local ACLU chapter member.
If City Commission approves the new rules, the city will restrict all sex offenders/predators from living within 2,500 feet of a child care facility, park, playground, or school, regardless of the conviction or offense date,” the police department’s report states.
While keeping children safe is a priority, commissioners are are being cautious about the change.
“Are we unintentionally going to force people into one section of town or not?” asked Commissioner Randy Hartman. “I mean, are we going to push them all up to U.S. 1? Are we going to push them all up to West Canal? So I’d like to see a map at the second reading or before then, exactly (which) areas we’re excluding.”
“These residence restrictions are not designed to protect children,” said Cary Ragsdale, a representative of the local chapter of the national civil rights organization, in a recent interview with a news station. “They’re designed to punish the registered sex offenders.”