Cloud restricts sex offenders Under a new city law, they must live at least 2, feet from schools and other places. CLOUD -- The city's roughly two dozen registered sex offenders will have to scout neighborhoods more carefully when they look for a home to be sure they do not violate a new law.
Cloud on Thursday night became the first city in Osceola County to adopt a stricter policy on where sex offenders may live. The public reading of the law met no negative public reaction and passed on a vote. The ordinance first was presented at the City Council's meeting on July 24 and stipulates that offenders must live at least 2, feet from schools, public parks, day-care centers, playgrounds, churches or any other place of religious assembly. Currently, state law mandates that offenders may not live closer than 1, feet from these places.
Cloud joins a host of other Central Florida cities that have passed more restrictive measures. Mantzaris told council members that according to a U. Department of Justice report, sex offenders are four times more likely than other released prisoners to be repeat offenders. Those who are homeowners cannot be forced to move from their homes.
However, they will not be able to buy or otherwise move into a home that is within 2, feet of a school, playground and the other places listed in the ordinance. Police say there are 25 registered sex offenders in the city.
Of these, one is classified as a sexual predator and three cannot be found, meaning they are subject to arrest. Cloud addresses, but most live outside the city and are not bound by the new restrictions. However, Osceola County commissioners plan to consider a similar measure soon. Kissimmee officials are also studying the issue.
Police said registered sex offenders are regularly checked on to make sure they are living where they should be. This is an important tool in enforcing the city ordinance, officials said. Council member Mike Wetzel said the ordinance would clean out downtown transient offenders because of Veterans Park's proximity to the area. Some would like to see even more restrictions put on sex offenders. Cloud resident Debra Carter thanked the city for its attention to the matter but voiced concerns, saying she would like to see the ordinance include bus stops.
Mantzaris said the city does not control bus stop locations, and they are subject to being moved at anytime.