Hookah lounge raises concerns

Published 11:12 am Thursday, April 25, 2013

A proposal to open a hookah bar in downtown Troy has certainly stirred up the interest, and concerns, of city leaders.

Efforts to secure a liquor license for the bar, which also would feature water pipes for patrons to smoke, were tabled again this week by the Troy City Council after one council member spoke out with a variety of concerns.

From questions about occupancy rates to concerns over the health impacts of hookah smoking and water pipe use, Councilman Johnny Witherington brought to voice the questions and comments raised by many residents since the proposal first surfaced. And while the city council has even discussed considering an ordinance to ban water pipes – which are legal in the state – the two businessmen seeking to open the hookah bar are left in limbo.

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And so is downtown Troy.

The hookah bar, if licensed, would provide a much-needed addition to Troy’s downtown area and allow efforts to seek entertainment district zoning to proceed. With that designation, proponents say they see a function of the downtown area as a destination for special events and activities.

So the issue is important, and so is your opinion. The members of the Troy City Council have always been responsive to their constituents, mindful of the responsibility they bear in making decisions that both represent the community and steward it well.

So if you have an opinion, or questions, speak up now to your council member. They’re ready to listen.