Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 13
Lompoc clarifies sex offender residency laws
BY JEREMY THOMAS
A new city ordinance took effect in Lompoc on June 1, intended to reinforce Jessica’s Law requirements and keep registered sex offenders from living near places where children congregate.
The Lompoc City Council passed the ordinance on April 17, in response to a similar clarification of sex offender residency laws taken up by the Santa Maria City Council last November. It establishes “Child Safety Zones” in which convicted sex offenders are prohibited from loitering within 300 feet of schools, daycare centers, parks, public libraries, school bus stops, playgrounds, and other locations holding children’s classes. It also prohibits sex offenders from living and loitering within “Residential Exclusion Zones”—areas within 2000 feet of child-care centers, public and private schools, parks, and public libraries.
Lompoc mayor John Linn, who voted for the ordinance, said it simply addressed the “erosion” of distance stipulations in state law, which he said are intended to refer to radius, but have been interpreted by some courts as meaning walking distance.
“All we did was reinstate the requirements put forth in Jessica’s Law,” Linn said. “Many communities have done what we’ve done.”
Linn said the ordinance would have no effect on registered sex offenders residing within city limits prior to being enacted. The ordinance also limits all residences, including motels and apartment complexes, to one registered sex offender per residence. Landlords and homeowners can be held liable for knowingly renting to multiple registered sex offenders. Violators of the ordinance will be charged with misdemeanors.
“The purpose of the ordinance is to protect Lompoc’s most valuable assets, our youth,” Lompoc police said in a press release. “The City of Lompoc has joined in the efforts of the State of California to protect our children. This ordinance limits the choices for where registered sex offenders can live within the city limits.”
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