Texas Subdivision Bans Convicted Sex Offenders From Owning, Living In New Homes

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Taximom, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. Taximom

    Taximom Former Member

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    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312642,00.html
    AMARILLO, Texas —
    A subdivision has barred convicted sex offenders from owning or living in any new homes.

    G.R. Chapman Limited Partnership said the deed restriction will apply to new development within The Woodlands. The 550 existing homes are not affected.
    "We want to try to have a community that is safe all the way around," developer Justin Chapman said.
    The deeds for new homes will stipulate that a homeowner cannot sell the home if the buyer or a future inhabitant is a sex offender. Violators will be required to sell the home and move.
    Kent Canada, an attorney for the developer, said the homeowners association will periodically check the state online database of registered sex offenders. The group will be able to take legal action against violators, he said.
    Federal law prohibits discrimination based on factors including race, religion, gender and age. But court challenges to similar sex offender bans have been unsuccessful, Canada said. (more at link)



    If you can't send them to their own island, make your own island?

    I get irritated with this type of ban because they are selling perceived safety. People have to realize that not all offenders are going to be on that list, therefore the neighborhood can't ever be guaranteed safe.
     
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  3. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    I think this is ridiculous.

    ETA: I am trying to figure out on what basis they can require someone to sell their home and move out in the future if they become a sex offender.
     
  4. Texana

    Texana Overreaching

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    I think it's pretty silly, too. Obviously some marketing ploy somebody dreamed up.

    However, the courts have upheld those age restrictions, for example, when one partner dies and the other one is under age, they have been required to sell and move out in those "senior" communities.
     
  5. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    OKay good point.
     
  6. Taximom

    Taximom Former Member

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    I wonder how that case was settled where the little girl lived with the grandparents in a senior community and they weren't supposed to have kids? (I think the mom was in jail?)
     
  7. reportertype

    reportertype Dogs are awesome!

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    I try really hard to avoid any area that has a multitude of deed restrictions. There's always somebody to drive you crazy.

    I'm sure even if they couldn't legally get you out, they could make it a very horrible living experience for you.

    I taught a journalism camp down there once and the vast majority of the kids lived in The Woodlands. They spent all of their breaks discussing what clerks were working what shifts at various conven. stores and gas stations so they could buy sigs and alcohol. They also showed me how where on the school grounds they sneak off and drink and smoke at lunch and before school w/out getting caught. They were incredibly sharp and organized. I was impressed with that aspect, of course not with what these efforts were going toward.

    I have a feeling not a single parent there would believe this of their kid!
     
  8. SeekingJana

    SeekingJana Well-Known Member

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    I had personal experience with this issue a few years ago. It happens all over the country apparently.
    We found our so called dream house in a restricted private community. We found out after seeing and loving the house and land that we had to pay initiation/membership application dues of $5000 for the 2 adults which were not refundable if they rejected us. We found out when we signed all of the legal papers to apply for membership/ residency that a criminal background check is run on every applicant for residency as well as credit and employment background checks.

    Sure enough, while we were living there, a man who was a high risk status convicted sex offender with multiple offenses moved in with his elderly mother. No one ran the usual check because she was already a resident and property owner.

    Some people with children tried to do several things. One was to distribute flyers with his photo saying that he was living in the development. The board of directors for the HOA shot that down. Said it was illegal and every homeowner could be sued collectively. I thought they were afraid of him, lol.
    A group went to the sheriff and tried to say he was a danger to their children living close to him. Sheriff said it was legal until he did something. No schools or child- oriented activity centers were near enough to the home or the development in general for him to be in violation of any child protection law.

    I never met him, but I saw his photo on the sex offender database. I guess most of us did at the time.
    Like I told a dear friend who was our neighbor, IMO, I worry about the men who will attack children or women and haven't been identified or caught yet.

    I have mixed feelings about it all. The homes were very expensive and cost more because they were located in what was advertised as a secure place to live. People who could afford to live there with their children often moved in from another local development because it was supposed to be safer and all residents were supposed to have background checks. Renter tenants were not permitted. Neither were a lot of other silly, minor things. Rules were in place to cover every possible nuisance or unsightly thing, but nothing about sex offenders, LOL.

    I think all violent or repeat sex offenders should be castrated as part of their sentencing, but then some might turn their violence into another area. I decided that none of us can assume that we are safe and protected anywhere except through our own efforts and vigilence. A false sense of security is much worse than knowing to be watchful everywhere.
    I also learned that developers will use just about any hook to get people to buy overpriced, oversized houses that few people ever really need.

    We moved across the country in career moves, and I have no idea what became of the registered sex offender. I still remember his name, though. It was a horrible time, with people putting their homes for sale, some saying they would kill the man if they saw him, burn the house down, all kinds of bad vigilante things that made me wonder about them. I bet the houses are not as elite or expensive there now.
     
  9. philamena

    philamena Former Member

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    I must be the only weirdo because I like the idea of banning convicted sex offenders. I'm having a little trouble figuring out why you all think this is a bad thing.
    Do any of you follow the child abuse cases here at WS?
    Do you have small children because I sure as hell don't want a sex offender living beside me. And yes, I check the sex offender list in my area monthly.
     
  10. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Hi Philamena. I have a problem with it because I have no faith in the list.
     
  11. philamena

    philamena Former Member

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    Hi JBean. Thanks for explaining why you feel the way you do. :)
     
  12. SeekingJana

    SeekingJana Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it's a bad idea at all. Did you read my post? :)
    It's simply impossible to enforce. Those people in Texas will find it out just like our HOA did.

    When a sex offender is paroled, one of the stipulations is usually that he has to have suitable living arrangements in place. Many go to live with their parents or grown siblings, who may already be living in a restricted development with checks, balances and full time employees doing background checks like ours had.

    But, the background check is ONLY done on the property owner and the adult family members known to be moving in or living with them. I don't see how the HOA in Texas with the new rule is going to know that old Mr. and Mrs. Smith just opened their doors to shelter their newly released sex offender son.
    If he doesn't register to vote ( and he can't as a convicted felon, usually) and stays to himself, drives a vehicle already registered in the homeowner's name, has no utilities or property taxes in his name, then he doesn't leave a legal paper trail.

    The main problem?
    No authority is required to notify the public of a newly released sex offender in most states.

    We thought we would live in a crime-free, criminal free place. The truth is that such a place probably doesn't exist under the current laws.
     
  13. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Howdy there. I understand the theory behind it, but it is just so difficult to enforce properly.
    I always tell the story of my friends daughter that went away to college. her frosh year she was walking home from a party where she had been drinking. She stopped a pee'ed behind a bush.
    Policeman saw her arrested her for it and she is now on the sex offender registry for exposing herself in public.
    GMAB. Not supporting what she did, but SO list? If this girl was ever denied housing for that I would go out of my mind.
     
  14. reportertype

    reportertype Dogs are awesome!

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    Philamena

    You're not weird! I agree with JBean's above post. In theory, it sounds great. In practicality, I'm not so sure.
     
  15. angelmom

    angelmom The love stays...forever in our hearts

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    My problem with it is twofold:

    First, the list is grossly imperfect. JBean's account is one example, and I have another of my own that is too long and drawn out to retype. The thread about the GA legislature and sex offenders has the whole story. People are on the list who we don't need to waste our time freaking out about (although they might be good for LE to know about in some cases).

    Second, if we ban RSOs from living in these places, one of two things will happen. Either they will lie about where they are living and/or not report in, and the list will be useless OR they will live in some shack out in the woods far away from any redlight cameras or convenience store security cameras or nosy neighbors or neighborhood watch patrols.

    Quite frankly, the idea of a homeless, jobless, isolated, angry pedophile who lives on the fringes of society scares the crap out of me way worse than someone trying to rebuild a normal life who has the support of his family living under the watchful eyes of a community who knows exactly who he is and what he's done.
     
  16. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    Just a great post AM and right on the money.
     
  17. luthersmama

    luthersmama Active Member

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    Aside from "the List" being wrong, an offender only gets onto the list after being caught and convicted. Some offenders never get caught and so are never on a list. If you depend on the idea that "no sex offenders are allowed to live here", you are terribly naive. Vigilence is still necessary.
     
  18. philamena

    philamena Former Member

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    Hi to everyone. A big thank you for posting your thoughts on this subject. I always enjoy reading everyones opinions and thoughts. ;)
     

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