The city of Kyle has reintroduced the implementation of child safety zones that would restrict where registered sex offenders may reside.
During a Feb. 2 City Council meeting, Kyle Chief of Police Jeff Barnett presented an ordinance centered on protecting children within the city by defining residency guidelines for registered sex offenders.
The original ordinance, which city documents state was mirrored from similar drafts in Cedar Park and Pflugerville, defines places within the city where children commonly gather, such as parks, and specifies that sex offenders cannot, by law, live permanently or temporarily within 1,500 feet of any defined common gathering area for children.
City officials noted during discussion of the ordinance in February that based on its definition of common areas where children gather, residency within 95% of Kyle would be off limits for registered sex offenders.
City Council directed Barnett to look into reducing the restriction from 1,500 feet to 1,000 feet during the Feb. 2 meeting. The first reading of the final draft during the April 20 meeting retained the initial distance requirement, but also provided options for 500 feet or 1,000 feet.
An April 1 memo from KPD Officer Dago Pates to Barnett states there are now 65 registered sex offenders in Kyle, and the proposed ordinance would not apply to homeowners or renters who currently reside in the city.
During KPD's presentation of the ordinance to council, Pates said he has received more calls from sex offenders looking to move to Kyle after the introduction of the original ordinance in February.
Pates said out of the 65 offenders living in Kyle, 59 have convictions related to minors and 54 of those involved an actual victim.
Following a discussion from council on the best distance requirement for sex offenders living in Kyle, officials voted to set the distance requirement at 1,000 feet.
Barnett said after the vote that 1,000 feet covers about 60%-70% of the city.
Because the distance requirement was not unanimous and passed 6-1 with Mayor Travis Mitchell voting no, the ordinance will come back for a second reading at an upcoming meeting.