The Keller City Council revisited an ordinance that would prohibit registered sex offenders from living within a certain distance of places children frequent during its Oct. 5 work session. Council will vote on the ordinance at its Oct. 19 meeting.

The ordinance would make it illegal for a sex offender—defined by the city as any person required to register as a sex offender under state law because of an offense involving a child—to live within 1,000 feet of “a child safety zone,” according to a presentation at the work session.

The council first discussed the ordinance at its Sept. 7 meeting. Council members agreed to table the ordinance to allow more time to ask questions about the policy and whether the distance should be even greater than 1,000 feet.

According to a handout about the ordinance, many other nearby cities have similar ordinances in place. Watauga and North Richland Hills both limit the proximity to 1,000 feet. Roanoke and Richland Hills limit it to 1,500 feet. Southlake, Grapevine, Flower Mound and Saginaw all limit the proximity to 2,000 feet, according to the handout.

However, Keller Police Chief Brad Fortune said the city can’t enact an ordinance limiting proximity to more than 1,000 feet because of a law that was enacted in 2017.

“It prevents us from going over 1,000 feet,” Fortune said. “And so the other jurisdictions were grandfathered in.”

Keller Police Detective William Brockmoller noted that there are 20 sex offenders in Keller, but two are currently in jail. If the ordinance were to go into effect, those who already live near a “child safety zone” would not be forced to move and would be grandfathered in.

“Child safety zones” are defined by the city as places children commonly gather, such as schools, arcades and playgrounds, according to the presentation.

Some of the specific “child safety zones” listed in the presentation were the Keller Public Library and the Moviehouse & Eatery. Most of the others listed were middle and elementary schools, childcare and preschool facilities, learning centers, public and private parks, trails and certain apartment complexes.