A subdivision has barred convicted sex offenders from owning or living in any new homes.

G.R. Chapman Limited Partnership said the deed restriction will apply to new development within The Woodlands. The 550 existing homes are not affected.

"We want to try to have a community that is safe all the way around," developer Justin Chapman said.

The deeds for new homes will stipulate that a homeowner cannot sell the home if the buyer or a future inhabitant is a sex offender. Violators will be required to sell the home and move.

Kent Canada, an attorney for the developer, said the homeowners association will periodically check the state online database of registered sex offenders. The group will be able to take legal action against violators, he said.

Federal law prohibits discrimination based on factors including race, religion, gender and age. But court challenges to similar sex offender bans have been unsuccessful, Canada said.

Greg Lines, legal chair for the High Plains Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said the sex offender ban could unfairly lump a wide range of offenders together. He cited an example of a man who was required to register as a sex offender because of a streaking incident.

The Lubbock subdivision of Milwaukee Ridge has a similar ban on sex offenders. Developer John Sellers said reaction has been positive.