Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TOP STORY > >Jacksonville day curfew for juveniles

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville has had a nighttime curfew for juveniles for more than 15 years, but now the city wants a daytime curfew, too.
“We want kids in school, and if they are not in school, we don’t want them roaming the streets,” explained City Administrator Jay Whisker.

The proposed ordinance, which will be discussed at the city council meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at city hall, will be geared mostly toward youngsters who are suspended or expelled from school.

If approved, the ordinance will take effect Monday, Nov. 3, so that the police will have about two weeks to prepare to implement the administrative procedures and requirements of the ordinance.

Under the ordinance, “It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 to be or remain in or upon the streets, public parks, playgrounds, vacant lots or to ride and/or drive in or upon, over or through the public streets and/or public parks within the city of Jacksonville during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. when public schools are in sessions.”

This will coincide with the current curfew that prohibits juveniles from being out and about from midnight on Fridays and Saturdays to 5 a.m. the next morning, from 11 p.m. Sundays to 5 a.m. Mondays, and from 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday to 5 a.m. the next morning.

The ordinance does contain exceptions to the rule of no juveniles out on the streets during the day. Those exceptions include:

When the juvenile is with a parent or an adult.

When exercising First Amendment rights, after notifying the police or proper authorities.

When the juvenile’s parent have notified authorities of a valid reason for the juvenile to be out on his or her own.

When engaged in duties of bona fide employment.

The ordinance states that the daytime curfew is necessary for “the improvement of public facilities and the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Jacksonville.”

Also on the council agenda for Thursday’s meeting:

Aldermen will consider approving the rezoning of a parcel of land on South Hwy. 161 near Valentine Road from C-3 (commercial) to R-3 (multi-family residents). The city’s planning commission has recommended approval of the rezoning.

The council will also ap-prove the final plat of Foxwood Gardens Phase I, a subdivision of patio homes. The planning commission has approved the final plat.

The city’s fire and police chiefs will present their monthly reports. City Planner Chip McCulley will present the monthly engineering report and Public Works Director Jim Oakley will give the animal shelter report.

Aldermen will be reminded that the city will host its annual auction of excess, discarded and confiscated items at 9 a.m. Saturday at the recycling center off Marshall Road.