Jacksonville councilman proposes amending sexual predator regulation

by: Action News Jax Updated:

A new bill aims to allow sexual predators to live closer to local daycares because a Jacksonville City Councilman says the current law is unintentionally hurting businesses.

If passed, the ordinance introduced by councilman Bill Gulliford, will still be tougher than the state law; current law is almost triple the state's required distance of 1,000 feet.

“If I had the choice I would put them on an island with shark infested water around it, but we have limitations to the law,” said Gulliford, who’s proposing legislation to lessen the distance to help businesses, like Jessie Activity Learning Center in Mayport.

Action News Jax talked to the property owner at Jessie Activity Learning Center, Ward Huntely, and he calls the sexual predator law bad for businesses and families.

“There’s 20,000 to 30,000 people living out in Mayport - you are trying to say because five or six sexual predators, you will have to drive several miles to find a child care center?” said Huntley.

Huntley says daycare demand is increasing as more Navy families move to Jacksonville and says the process to reopen the business has been tough because of the current ordinance, requiring sexual predators to live more than 2,500 feet from schools and daycare's. 

The new legislation would amend the city code to 1,500 feet. 

Huntley says children’s safety always come first, but he says there are flaws with the current ordinance. 

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