Biddeford police have for the first time cited a resident for allegedly violating a city ordinance that prohibits certain sex offenders from living near public spaces where children gather.

But the registered sex offender plans to challenge the city’s demand that he move his family.

The Biddeford City Council enacted the ordinance in May, joining a handful of other southern Maine communities that prohibit sex offenders from living next to parks, schools, beaches and other public spaces where children might gather. The Saco City Council is now considering adopting similar restrictions.

Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre said Carlito Rodriguez Jr. was notified in August that he had 30 days to relocate from his apartment at 102 South St. because he was in violation of the ordinance. Rodriguez lives within 750 feet of Williams Court Park. When he didn’t move, the city issued a summons.

Rodriguez, 35, was convicted in 2000 of unlawful sexual contact with a person under the age of 14. He served 70 days in county jail and is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to the Maine Sex Offender Registry.

Rodriguez, who is now married and has children, said he received a civil summons to appear in court on Nov. 25 and plans to fight the violation because he says Williams Court Park is not used primarily by children.

A 2009 Maine law permits municipalities to prohibit certain sex offenders from living with 750 feet of a school, park or other public facility where children are the primary users. The ordinance can apply only to sex offenders who have been convicted of crimes against children younger than 14.

The residency restrictions adopted in communities in Maine and around the country have seen broad public support from those who say they are a measure to protect children. Opponents say the restrictions are not based on evidence of risk and could possibly even make communities less safe by driving sex offenders underground or into homelessness.

In 2014, the South Portland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live. Bangor passed its ordinance in 2013. The city of Portland discussed a local ordinance in 2010 but never enacted one.

Old Orchard Beach implemented residency restrictions in August and has had no violations, said Police Chief Dana Kelley.

The Saco City Council on Monday will take an initial vote on a similar ordinance, then hold a public hearing on Oct. 5. Under the proposed ordinance, sex offenders would not be allowed to live within 750 feet of Thornton Academy, the city’s four public schools, the community center on Franklin Street, Pepperell Park, Diamond Riverside Park and more than 10 playgrounds and athletic fields.

Rodriguez said when he moved to Biddeford from Saco on Aug. 1, he was unaware of the city’s new ordinance. When he went to the police station to update his sex offender registry information, something he is required to do when he moves, Rodriguez said he was told his apartment on South Street was too close to Williams Court Park and was given notice that he had 30 days to move.

“I was mildly panicked when I found out. I told my wife we had to move and there was nothing we could do about it,” he said. “When I looked at the map and realized what property put me in that (restricted) zone, I started looking into it. I don’t believe that particular property should be included in the ordinance.”

Williams Court Park was built in 2011 using federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization funds. The city razed three dilapidated buildings to create a small grassy area and courtyard overlooking St. Joseph’s Church and the downtown area.

“It’s my opinion that the park isn’t designed with children in mind as the primary consumer,” Rodriguez said. “There are signs that say you can’t play ball, ride bikes or use skateboards. All you can do is sit.”

Beaupre said city staff members told him certain aspects of the park – including mushroom-shaped stones to climb on – were put there for use by children. Because of this, he said, the 750-foot restriction applies to the park.

Under the Biddeford ordinance, the city could seek a penalty of $500 per day for violations.

City Councilor Bob Mills, who represents the downtown ward and has talked to Rodriguez about the situation, said he does not feel there are any big problems with the ordinance. However, he did say that all building owners should be notified of the restricted zones.

Rodriguez said he has stayed out of trouble and complied with requirements to register as a sex offender since he was convicted 15 years ago. He said he will continue to live in his apartment until he fights the citation in court.

“I very much want a safe place to live for me and my children. It’s a Catch-22 to be a parent and try to do things the right way and still have to live with stuff from the past,” he said. “I don’t feel like (Biddeford police) are out to get me, but there’s a problem with the process. There needs to be a better process to notify people about these restrictions.”