During the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners Meeting on Monday, Sheriff Staly discussed certain deficiencies he found in the local ordinance 20-377. The ordinance was adopted in 2005 and governs where sex offenders and predators may live in Flagler County. The ordinance has prohibited sex offenders and predators from establishing permanent residence within 1,000 feet of certain places where children are commonly found.
The Ordinance in Question:
Sec. 20-377. – Prohibited residences of sexual offenders and sexual predators.
It is prohibited and unlawful for any sexual offender or sexual predator to abide, lodge, or reside in a permanent or temporary residence located within Flagler County when such residence is located within one thousand (1,000) feet of any school, daycare center, park, or playground, regardless of whether the school, daycare center, park or playground lies within the unincorporated areas of Flagler County.
A sexual offender or sexual predator, having a permanent residence within one thousand (1,000) feet of any school, daycare center, park, or playground, does not commit a violation of this section if any of the following apply:
(1)The sexual offender or sexual predator established the permanent residence prior to the effective date of this article, provided, however, that at the end of the then-current rental term (in the case of a lease), the sexual offender or sexual predator shall be required to abandon that permanent residence and establish a new permanent residence at a location that is not within one thousand (1,000) feet of any school, daycare center, park or playground.
(2)The sexual offender or sexual predator was a minor when committing the offense causing the designation as a sexual predator or sexual offender and was not sentenced as an adult for that offense.
(3)The sexual offender or sexual predator is under the age of eighteen (18).
(4)The school, daycare center, park, or playground was opened or established after the sexual offender or sexual predator established the permanent residence.
(Ord. No. 05-24, § 2, 11-7-05)
In a letter to County Chairman Donald O’Brien dated April 12, 2021, Sheriff Staly requested modifications to the ordinance, pointing out that the ordinance left out several important locations where children get together such as private recreational spaces and facilities, libraries, churches, and school bus stops. Sheriff Staly further talked to these points during the County Meeting Monday.
Staly states, “It is a sacred duty to protect the children living and visiting Flagler County,” Sheriff Rick Staly said during the meeting. “1,000 feet is the minimum distance allowed by law, I encourage the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners to do more than the minimum to keep our children safe and to amend the ordinances to prohibit sex offenders and predators from establishing a residence in additional locations frequented by our children that are not currently covered.”
Sheriff Staly brought up comparisons to the City of Palm Coast’s Ordinance, 35-253 which requires 2,500 feet distance away from schools, daycares, public parks, and playgrounds. Though he voiced the same displeasure that the ordinance failed to include private recreational spaces and facilities, libraries, churches, and school bus stops. Sheriff Staly has requested amendments to both ordinances for inclusion of the additional locations and for both the County and City to be the same.
Currently, there are 124 Sex Offenders and 3 Predators living within Flagler County.