Arroyo Grande OKs sex offender ordinance

The Arroyo Grande council Tuesday night voted 4-0 to approve a new law that would allow police to arrest registered sex offenders who are found loitering or watching children within 300 feet of children’s facilities, including schools, parks and day care centers.

Offenders would also be forbidden from returning to the area if asked to leave.

“The idea is to give us one more measure to control the location of our sex offenders,” police Cmdr. John Hough said.

State law forbids registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any public or private school, or park where children regularly gather.

The ordinance is modeled after one adopted in 2006 in Santa Ana. Police would at their discretion be able to arrest any registered sex offender for violating the city ordinance, which would be a misdemeanor, Hough said.

The ordinance is to come back to the council for a final approval at its next meeting and, if approved, go into effect 30 days later.

Twelve registered sex offenders live in Arroyo Grande; seven more live in the rural outskirts outside city limits. There are 304 offenders registered in San Luis Obispo County.

Police Chief Steven Annibali said recently that his department’s officers had encountered a homeless man who is a convicted sex offender — registered through San Luis Obispo — at two Arroyo Grande city parks. The man left after being told to do so by police.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated on Twitter by following@SouthCountyBeat.