Monday, March 17, 2008

Sexual Offenders Will Move

Published: March 11, 2008

TAMPA - The sex offenders living at Juli's Mobile Home Park may as well start packing now, according to Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Department supervisor Bill Langford. He says he has cited them, and they'll be leaving the Palm River park by choice or by force.

The residents, all convicted sex offenders or sexual predators, are at the mobile home park, 5011 24th Ave. S., illegally, Langford said at a Monday night meeting of the Greater Palm River Civic Association.

The mobile home park is in an area zoned industrial. However, the county granted a variance for residential uses. Langford said that approval covers single-family homes, not the nonprofit group home for sexual offenders and predators that Florida Justice Transitions Inc. has established there.

"If you're calling yourself transitional housing, then under our regulations it's considered a group home and that area is not zoned for that use," he said. Langford has cited the property owner, Rooring Lake Gilbert LLC. The citation mandates Florida Justice Transitions vacate Juli's Mobile Home Park within three days or the owner will face fines.

Florida Justice Transitions founder Nancy Morais said she is working with the owner to put a fence and gate around the park and assure residents no one younger than 15 would be allowed in. She said she is working with the civic association to find an alternative site.

She said she did not realize there was a family mobile home park across the street when she subleased Juli's Mobile Home Park. "We might be able to move this to a more appropriate location. I apologize. I wasn't aware there was a family park there," she said.

Morais said there are six offenders at the park, though 11 are listed on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Web site.

County Commissioner Kevin White attended the civic association meeting. He said he would look into the possibility of proposing a sexual offender anti-clustering ordinance to the commission.

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