Rosemount approves predatory offender buffer zone

The Rosemount City Council unanimously approved an ordinance regulating predatory offender residency during Tuesday’s meeting.

Rosemount has created essentially a 2,000-foot buffer zone between where Level 3 predatory offenders can live and places where children and other vulnerable people live.

“Public safety is an extremely important issue,” said Mitchell Scott, police chief. “These are the highest level of predatory offenders who are deemed likely to re-offend. We want to limit the areas where they live where they may be put in contact with those citizens of Rosemount.”

The ordinance prohibits a predatory offender from living within 2,000 feet of any park, school, childcare facility, place of worship or vulnerable adult housing.

It will also make it a violation to knowingly rent to a predatory offender within the buffer zone.

Someone who violates the ordinance is guilty of a misdemeanor and the maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

Scott said individuals required to register as a Level 3 offender are labeled as such because they are deemed to have a high likelihood to re-offend and use physical violence.

During a work session on April 10, David Anderson, an attorney with Kennedy & Graven, spoke to council members stating at least 50 Minnesota cities have adopted regulations.

Other cities such as South St. Paul, West St. Paul, Hastings and Inver Grove Heights have implemented predatory offender ordinances.

Anderson said some states are starting to see legal challenges to these types of ordinances and if they were to do one, it shouldn’t be overly restrictive.

He also noted that the ordinances can create a false sense of security.

Anderson said the Minnesota Legislature has been working on updating the language, but it’s been slow.

The city didn’t want to “come late to the party,” Scott said.

City attorney Mary Tietjen said the city can’t completely exclude individuals from living in Rosemount, but placing restrictions on locations is something they can do.

“There are legal concerns, constitution concerns from banning them from living in the community,” Tietjen said.