Independent TribuneNews County approves sex offender ban in parks, facilities

County approves sex offender ban in parks, facilities

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By Karen Cimino Wilson
[email protected]
The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to ban registered sex offenders from Cabarrus County parks and recreation facilities.

Counties and cities throughout North Carolina have been adopting ordinances banning registered sex offenders from recreation facilities to strengthen their ability to enforce a state law. The state law makes it a felony for a person who has committed a sexual offense to visit any place where it is reasonable to expect to find children. 

The county ordinance makes the offense a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine or jail time. It does not restrict registered sex offenders from entering public facilities to vote or attend official public meetings. 

There are at least 187 registered sex offenders living in Cabarrus County, according to the N.C. Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry database.
North Carolina requires individuals convicted of offenses against a minor or sexually violent crimes such as rape and assault to list their name on the registry. 

In other business
• Commissioners voted 5-0 to table an increase to the Adequate Public Facilities Voluntary Mitigation fee required for homes and townhouses. 

The ordinance requires developers to pay a mitigation fee of $8,617 per single-family home and $4,570 per townhouse to help offset the cost incurred by the county to build new schools. 

The commissioners have been asked to vote on an 8 percent increase to the fee, raising it to $9,279 for single-family homes and $4,921 per townhouse. 

Commissioner Bob Carruth said he wanted to wait to learn the outcome of a lawsuit against the county regarding the mitigation ordinance. 
Commissioner Grace Mynatt earlier this year said she was concerned over increasing the fee during tough economic times.

• The Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a 168-condominium development called Edison Square that will be located at the intersection of Harris Road and Ellenwood Drive near the Skybrook Golf Club and the Cabarrus-Mecklenburg county line.

The project was approved despite commissioners’ concerns and a lengthy discussion about the impact on local schools. The proposed project is expected to increase the school capacity at Cox Mill Elementary School from 88.2 percent to 134.32 percent.

“It’s not just this development that’s doing it,” Commissioner Bob Carruth said. “It’s development that’s already there.”

Commissioner Coy Privette said it would be irresponsible to approve the proposal. 

“Schools are for students,” he said. “We don’t build schools for developers.”

Developer Shea Homes is expected to pay $223,608 to offset the impact to local schools before it can receive building permits. The developer expects to build 45 units per year for the next three years and then 33 units in 2012 to complete the project.

• Contact reporter Karen Cimino Wilson: 704-789-9141.


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