HESPERIA — Since this week’s council meeting and its late continuation of closed session to discuss pending litigation, an agreement was reached Thursday to settle a registered sex offender’s lawsuit against the city.
Hesperia was the 15th California city or county since about March to be sued by Frank Lindsay, who alleged the Municipal Code section limiting RSOs’ residency, movement and business activities is unconstitutional.
“The city has reached an agreement to settle and dismiss the lawsuit for a modest financial amount, which will be disclosed when the lawsuit is settled,” Hesperia City Attorney Eric Dunn said Friday.
After the Tuesday council meeting, councilmen re-entered their closed session to discuss the federal lawsuit. The suit was filed after the council failed to pass at first opportunity amendments conforming to the recently recognized “state system” of laws regulating the presence and activities of registered sex offenders.
Hesperia’s Municipal Code had stricter limits than the state on RSOs’ residency, movements and business activities relating to areas of “sensitive use,” where children may regularly gather.
The council, since the agenda item’s failed passage in July, approved the conforming amendment on Aug. 5. Between those votes, the city was sued by attorney and president of California Reform Sex Offender Laws Janice Bellucci, who is representing Lindsay.
The settlement may be finalized within the next week or so, Dunn said.
Also from Tuesday’s agenda, a consent calendar item on transferring ownership of Malibu Park was moved to an open hearing for discussion.
Councilman Bill Holland moved to pull the item for clarification from staff.
City Manager Mike Podegracz explained the city acquired ownership of the park site from the developer of the Mission Crest residential neighborhood, progress on which was interrupted by the Great Recession.
Part of the project’s conditions of approval required the developer to construct and dedicate a park to Hesperia Recreation & Park District.
“The park, constructed at the intersection of Muscatel Street and Malibu Avenue, was completed under the direction of Hesperia Recreation & Park District (HRPD),” Podegracz’s staff report says. “However, the park property was dedicated to the City of Hesperia on the final Tract Map recorded in 2004.”
The five-member council voted unanimously to effect the transfer of title.
Gary Brodeur may be contacted at 760-951-6245 or gbrodeur@vvdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_gbrodeur.