2018 began for the Jacksonville City Council with some holdover business from 2017: a proposed lessening of residency distance requirements for sexual predators.
The bill has been around since September, and is headed toward the graveyard of dead bills. Councilors spiked it by a 2-5 margin Tuesday in the Neighborhoods, Community Services, Public Health and Safety Committee.
Councilman Bill Gulliford, the sponsor of the legislation, said in September that it was driven by two women in Mayport who want to open a day care center. But since it is 2,380 feet from the residence of a sexual predator “as the crow flies,” they can’t. Current ordinance sets a 2,500 foot predator buffer.
Gulliford’s bill would set the limit to 1,500 feet. But this bill doesn’t appear to be headed anywhere.
Councilman John Crescimbeni cautioned that “whittling this down” would create a potential slippery slope of future exemptions.
Gulliford reiterated his September arguments, noting that in Mayport, there are schools and one park closer to the sexual predator than the proposed day care center.
As was the case in 2017, Gulliford encountered resistance on Tuesday before the no vote.
Gulliford and Councilman Greg Anderson exchanged crosstalk about the appropriate “best practices” in distancing, before Anderson said he couldn’t support it, as he needs more information.
The bill will move to Rules and then Land Use and Zoning, but there is no reason to think it will do any better there.