A recommendation to approve an ordinance making it unlawful for certain sexual offenders to reside within 1,000 feet of places where children gather is being sent to the Stephenville City Council by the Public Health and Safety Committee.
The ordinance also makes it illegal for those sexual offenders to loiter within 300 feet of a child safety zone, such as public parks, private and public schools, public libraries, amusement parks, child care institutions and facilities and youth sports fields.
Loitering is defined in the ordinance as “standing, sitting idly, whether or not the person is in a vehicle or remaining in or around an area.”
A sexual offender is defined as an individual who has been convicted of, or placed on deferred adjudication, for a sexual offense involving a person under 17 years of age for which the individual is required to register as a sex offender.
The recommendation came after discussion of a provision in the ordinance requiring proof from landlords that they did not have knowledge that a renter or lessee was a sex offender.
Chief Roy Halsell said the property owner would be notified when the police started an investigation. He added that the same rule would apply to a girlfriend or boyfriend allowing a sex offender to stay in the residence.
He also said a property owner could check with the local police department or the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Sex Offender Database to determine whether a potential renter is a sex offender as defined in the ordinance.
The committee is also recommending approval of a request from Halsell to use $15,000 of unencumbered forfeiture funds for case-making funds and for equipment to assist in investigation of narcotics cases.
During the committee work session on Tuesday, the Public Works Committee reviewed changes to the city’s Drought Contingency Plan.
Questions were raised about the rationale of requiring that new irrigation systems must be designed by a licensed professional recognized by the state to design water conserving systems.
After other questions from the committee regarding specific provisions of the changes in the ordinance, the committee tabled the discussion on the revisions and no action was taken.