The Murrieta City Council unanimously voted in favor of revising its residency restrictions on February 21. When it becomes effective, the revised ordinance will apply only to registrants on parole who live within 1,000 feet of schools and parks. The revised ordinance also limits the number of registrants who can live in individual housing units and creates exceptions for some disabled registrants.
“The revised residency restrictions adopted by the City Council tonight will violate the Constitution and be inconsistent with recent decisions by the California Supreme Court,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “The City Council has exchanged one arbitrary distance for another arbitrary distance.”
During the Council’s discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Ingram stated that the proposed revisions were both disturbing and necessary because the City had been backed into a corner by the filing of two lawsuits representing three plaintiffs. City Councilman Randen Lane added that the lawsuits are just 2 of a total of 88 lawsuits filed by attorney Janice Bellucci on behalf of registrants. In addition, Police Chief Sean Hadden noted that he believes the City has crafted a law it can defend.
The first lawsuit challenging residency restrictions in the City of Murrieta was filed in federal district court in October 2015. A second lawsuit was filed in the same federal district court in March 2016. The City filed a Motion to Dismiss the case in January 2016, which was denied. The judge later granted plaintiffs application for a Temporary Restraining Order in July 2016 and Motion for Preliminary Injunction in August 2016.
“The City of Murrieta is an outlier because unlike other cities that have been sued, this City failed to repeal its residency restrictions which undermine public safety by increasing the homeless rate of registrants,” stated Bellucci.
During the City Council meeting, City Attorney Jeff Morris stated that there are currently 64 registrants living in Murrieta. Of that total, there are 6 registrants on parole.
“The City Council focused only upon the number of registrants currently living in Murrieta and not the number of registrants who would choose to live there in the absence of the city’s residency restrictions,” stated Bellucci. “As a result, the City has chosen once again to harm families.”