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The Marco Island City Council passed a tough new ordinance Monday that council members say has made Marco Island a less likely home for a registered sex offender or sexual predator.

The ordinance and its more restrictive nature was a request made by councilman Amadeo Petricca.

The new law is reflective of language found in a similar legislation enacted by the Miami-Dade County Commission and found to be valid upon appeal to the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeals in 2010.

"I believe we need to provide our families and children with the best protection we can when it comes to the potential for harm to them," said Petricca.

The ordinance will prohibit a registered sex offender or sexual predator from living within 2,500 feet of any school, child-care facility, park, playground or public school-bus stop.

It also places the responsibility on a landlord to ensure a person seeking to lease or a short-term rental is not a sexual offender. It requires landlords to apply reasonable due diligence to determine if a person falls into that category. Failure to do so will be a code-enforcement violation and violators will be cited under the city of Marco Island Code Compliance Ordinance.

Violation of the new ordinance may bring a $500 fine or imprisonment for up to 60 days, or by both a fine and jail time.

The ordinance itself applies to both temporary and permanent residences. Temporary is defined as a place where the person abides, lodges or resides for 14 or more days during any calendar year and is not the person's permanent address, or a place where the person routinely abides, lodges or resides for four or more consecutive or nonconsecutive days in any month and which is not the person's permanent residence.

Any person falling under the definition of a sexual offender or sexual predator and already in an established permanent residence would be exempt from the ordinance, but would be required to adhere to the new standards should they choose to move.

A person who was a minor when an offense was committed and was never tried as an adult is also exempt.

The new ordinance went into effect upon its passage on Monday evening.

More information

A listing of all registered sexual offenders in Collier County can be found at colliersheriff.org, look under the Stay Safe drop-down tab.

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