March 3, 2017

Suntree wants to ban sex offenders from living there

3-3-17 Florida:

SUNTREE — The Suntree Master Homeowners Association, one of Brevard County's largest residential developments, may soon have one of the strictest policies in the state when it comes to allowing sexual offenders and sexual predators to live there.

The association is asking residents to amend its housing restrictive covenants, which would bar known sexual offenders and sexual predators from owning or renting there. Technically, it's asking residents to approve expanding the zone of protection of city and county ordinances by restricting sex offenders from residing within 3,000 feet from places where children regularly congregate, essentially covering all of Suntree.

The proposed changes follow meetings with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office on what crimes are taking place on the Space Coast and what communities can do to prevent problems before they start.

"We thought being preventative was better than being reactive," said Todd Foley, general manager of the homeowners association.

Lawyers and others familiar with fair housing statutes say what's being proposed in Suntree likely is legal, as housing covenants generally have more power over a neighborhood's make-up, much more so than those without official neighborhood guidelines.

Suntree, as residents often like to boast, is one of the most popular areas in Brevard. It's made up of 4,500 households, including single-family homes, apartments and townhouses, as well as schools, day care centers, bike paths, walking trails, two 18-hole golf courses, several parks and 50 neighborhoods or sub-associations.

The covenant amendment is scheduled to be voted on at the association's March 15 annual meeting. ..Continued.. by Wayne T. Price

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