In Holmes County, convicted sex offenders are currently required to live at least 2,500 feet away from a school bus stop.
That will remain so.
The Holmes County Board of County Commissioners decided to not change that limit during a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28, after County Attorney Nate Nolin brought up the matter.
The required state statutory limit is 1,000 feet. Nolin asked if the board wanted to make the county’s limit the same as the county statue.
Neighboring Washington County has a similar 2,500 limit.
“Granted, while we are dealing with people who are adjudicated by the court system, we also do want to protect their constitutional rights so they have a place to live,” Nolin said. “There’s a balance of equities there.”
Nolin consulted with Holmes District School Board Superintendent Buddy Brown on the matter, who said he would support either decision by commissioners.
County Commissioner Clint Erickson asked Nolin if “going above and beyond” the state statute violated anybody’s rights.
“2,500 feet is half a mile,” Nolin said. “That’s a long way, especially when you’ve got an undefined definition of what a school bus stop actually is. Florida statute is any place where children regularly aggregate. That’s vague, in and of itself.”
There would have to be “a challenge” to the county’s ordinance, Nolin said.
“I feel like our ordinance is fine, as is,” he said. “If there is a challenge to that, we’ll have to face it.”
Nolin does not recommend going further than 2,500 feet.