Apple Valley council OKs residency restrictions for sex offenders

The Apple Valley City Council approved an ordinance Feb. 23 that prevents certain convicted sex offenders from living near parks, schools, churches and day care centers.

Under the measure, offenders designated Level 3 — those most likely to re-offend — and those whose victims were under 16 years old cannot reside within 1,500 feet of those types of facilities.

The ordinance applies to predatory offenders who intend to move to Apple Valley following the City Council’s approval of the measure last week. It does not affect designated offenders who are already living in the city.

Currently, there are 64 predatory offenders residing in Apple Valley. Eighteen of those are designated Level 1, six are Level 2, and one is Level 3. Many offenders are not assigned a risk level, among them juveniles, offenders who were sentenced to probation and not jail time, and offenders released from prison prior to 1997.

Police monitor all registered sex offenders regularly, Apple Valley police Capt. Nick Francis said, with a special enforcement team doing routine checks.

The city’s first Level 3 offender moved to Apple Valley in November 2016, taking up residence in the vicinity of Haralson Drive and McIntosh Drive.

In October, police undertook a community notification process about the Level 3 offender, mailing out information and holding a public meeting.

Feedback received by police during the notification process suggested a “clear desire” from community members to restrict residency of sex offenders, Francis said.

Apple Valley is one of many cities in Minnesota to have enacted such an ordinance. The first was Taylors Falls, in 2006, and between 2006 and 2015 33 additional cities followed suit. Many other communities in the state are currently considering a similar measure.

In a presentation to the City Council prior to approval of the ordinance, Francis noted that if nearby cities have residency restrictions for sex offenders but Apple Valley does not, the result could be an influx of offenders into the community.

“As all the communities around us enact these ordinances, if we fail to (then) the path of least resistance is right here into our community,” he said.

The residency restriction is not a complete ban, as there will remain areas within the city where designated offenders are able to reside. A map showing estimated locations where residency restrictions apply will be maintained, and updated annually, by city officials.

The ordinance also prohibits designated offenders from living near adult, or sexually oriented, businesses.

While the restriction applies to offenders taking up residence near licensed child care facilities, “in-home” day care centers are excluded from the measure.

Additionally, landlords are subject to the ordinance. Those who rent property to a designated offender in a prohibited area will be in violation.

“There’s a responsibility on the landowner to know who they are renting to,” Francis said.

The City Council voted 5-0 to approve the ordinance.