Published at sanmarcosrecord.com
The Kyle City Council approved the implementation of a Child Safety Zones Ordinance, effectively regulating the boundaries of where registered sex offenders can reside within city limits.
Under the new ordinance, registered sex offenders who are considered ‘child offenders’ can not live at a residence or regularly visit a premise within 1,000 feet of where children commonly gather such as schools, daycares and parks. These certain offenders also can not decorate or light their homes exteriorly on Halloween. Violators of the ordinance will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.
However, restrictions do not apply to homeowners or those with a lease agreement in effect before the ordinance’s passing. After amending the initial draft, presented in February, city officials added exceptions to include individuals that were required to register as a sex offender as a minor but were not convicted as an adult; or individuals living in a medical facility such as hospitals or inpatient facilities.
“This ordinance wasn’t written to be punitive toward any part of our population, which is why we put in the work to refine and enhance it with an open ear for input from the community,” Chief of Police Jeff Barnett said. “The central purpose throughout the process of writing and passing the Child Safety Zones Ordinance has been how we as a community can more effectively protect our children. This ordinance is just another layer of protection we can add to help toward that overall goal.”
The original ordinance mirrored similar drafts in Cedar Park and Pflugerville, and proposed a 1,500 feet restriction radius. With a 1,500 feet restriction, certain registered sex offenders were limited from about 95% of the city. With a 1,000 feet restriction, about 60%-70% of the city is limited, according to the Kyle Police Department.
The ordinance map is expected to be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.