Citing public-safety concerns and in response to requests from citizens, the DeBary City Council is moving to enact a more stringent ordinance on where convicted sex offenders may live.
The city’s current law requires anyone found guilty of sex crimes to keep a 1,000-foot separation between his/her home and schools, school-bus stops, parks, libraries, churches and day care centers, among other places. The council June 19 tentatively passed an ordinance that increases the distance between the homes of sex felons and places where children may be found.
“It is 2,500 linear feet from the closest boundary to the closest boundary,” Mayor Karen Chasez said, as the council unanimously approved the measure on first reading.
The proposed ordinance also declares other places off-limits to sex offenders, including community pools, private parks and water parks. The revised ordinance resulted from meetings between the DeBary Golf & Country Club Homeowners Association and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m glad to know we may be on the leading edge of this,” Chasez said.
The pending ordinance does permit sex offenders now living within 2,500 feet of above-listed places to continue residing where they are if their current address is registered with authorities, or if a school, park, day care center, church or other facility listed in the measure opened after they established their residence. The ordinance covers not only homeowners with a sex-crime conviction, but also renters with an existing lease contract.
The ordinance is set for second and final reading at the DeBary City Council’s next regular meeting. That regular meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at DeBary City Hall, 16 Colomba Road. The meeting is open to the public.