Article Courtesy of The Florida
By Christopher Mobley
Published March 29, 2017
SUNTREE — A large residential development in Brevard County could end up
having one of the most-strict housing policies in the state in terms of sexual
offenders and predators.
According to a recent report by TV station WESH, the Suntree homeowners
association approved the implementation of a new policy that would ban all
convicted sexual predators and sexual offenders from living in the community.
The amendment to the covenant regarding the matter was voted on during the
Suntree Master Homeowners Association's annual meeting, which took place on
March 15, Florida Today reported.
The Association recently asked its residents to change housing restrictive
covenants, which is essentially approving the expansion of the zone of
protection of city and county ordinances, Florida Today reported. The new rule
states that convicted sexual offenders and sexual predators may not live within
3,000 feet of public parks, school-bus stops, and other areas where children may
congregate. Since there are no homes in Suntree that are more than 3,000 feet of
these places, the rule essentially keeps convicted sexual predators from living
within the boundaries of the community.
Suntree includes 4,500 households as well as day care centers and schools,
according to the Florida Today report.
The new rule came after meetings between the residents and the Brevard County
Sheriff's Office, according to the Florida Today report. The meetings discussed
the crimes that were taking place on the Space Coast area of Florida and plans
by the surrounding communities to prevent these crimes from happening before
Fair-housing laws — which protect homeowners and homebuyers from discrimination
based on certain characteristics such as race, religion, national origin and
gender — do not currently protect those who are convicted sexual offenders.
According to Florida statute Chapter 775, section 215, a person who has been
convicted of certain sexual offenses may not be reside within 1,000 feet of a
child care facility, park, playground or school. These laws, plus the fact that
housing covenants usually have more control and power over the make-up of a
neighborhood than those without official guidelines, are what make lawyers
confident that what has been proposed in Suntree completely legal, Florida Today
Sonia Bosinger, the lawyer for the Suntree Master Homeowners Association, told
Florida Today that convicted offenders who are already living within the new
3,000-foot zone may possibly be grandfathered in, with the decision being
decided on a case-by-case basis.
“The restriction is intended to cover all persons qualifying as sexual
predators,” Bosinger said. “However, for any offenders that may already be
residing within the 3,000-foot zone of protection, Suntree will need to analyze
each case individually to determine the parties' respective rights and
Tod Goodyear, who is a spokesperson for Brevard County Sheriff's Office, told
WESH that “[h]omeowners associations have the right to enact covenants for their
Last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released
statements about restrictions place on renting and selling to convicted felons,
stating that certain races could be affected because of the higher number of
convictions and arrests of people of a certain ethnicity.