Council considers smoking ban; members support idea

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Troy City Council entertained a first reading of the “City of Troy Smoke Free Air Ordinance of 2013” at its Tuesday meeting, and council members expressed their support for the ordinance.

Council member Dejerilyn Henderson said the ordinance would have a positive impact across the board and she “cannot oppose it.”

Council members Marcus Paramore, Greg Meeks, and Charlie Dunn also gave the nod to the ordinance, as did Board President Johnny Witherington who was aboard when the council imposed a citywide smoking ban in 2006.

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“During our Mayor for a Day program, one of the participants read her essay saying that, if she were Mayor for a Day, she would ban smoking in the city because she wanted her daddy to quit smoking,” Witherington said. “It was very moving to hear this young girl read that essay. That was the beginning of a ban on smoking in public places in Troy.”

Paramore said that his initial concern with the ban was how it would affect businesses but that he plans on supporting the ordinance. “I have no intention of not supporting it,” he said.

Dunn said that he spent a lot of time polling his constituents and, after serious consideration, he is in favor of the ordinance. “I am in favor of anything that will make Troy a healthier place for all of us,” he said. “This ordinance will do that.”

Witherington said the purposes of the ordinance are to protect the public health in the City of Troy by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment, to address and abate a form of air pollution caused by smoking, which is a danger to public health and a material public nuisance and to afford smokers the right to breathe smoke-free air in public places and in places of employment.

According to the ordinance, smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed pubic places within the City of Troy including but not limited to galleries, libraries, museums, bars, lounges, child care and adult care facilities, convention facilities, education facilities, both public and private, elevators, gaming facilities, health care facilities, hotels and motels, polling places, restaurants and cafes, retail stores, sports arenas, theaters, places of meeting or public assembly, service lines, shopping malls, public transportation vehicles and restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common-use areas.

Witherington said that, under the ordinance, outside smoking would not be allowed within 20 feet of public building entranceways.

“If the building has a deck, smoking will still not be allowed within in 20 feet of the entrance,” Witherington said.

Smoking will also not be allowed within 20 feet of operable windows and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited so as to prevent tobacco smoke from entering those areas or within 20 feet of outdoor seating or serving areas of restaurants.

In all outdoor arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters, smoking will be prohibited within 20 feet of bleachers and grandstands for use by spectators at sporting and other public events.

The ordinance will also thwart any efforts to allow the use of water pipes within the city.

“I’m the only councilmember that has seen first hand what the water pipes can do,” Dunn said. “I served in Vietnam where the pipes were used all the time. I couldn’t see what smoking the pipes was doing to people on the inside but I could see what it was doing on the outside. Their teeth were turning brown and falling out. Those were just the visible signs. I can only imagine what it was doing to the inside of their bodies. We don’t need anything like that it Troy. This ordinance takes care of all of it.”

A public hearing on the proposed smoke free air ordinance will be held at the Council’s next meeting on June 25. The Council could take action on the “City of Troy Smoke Free Air Ordinance of 2013” at that time.

In other action, the Council conditionally approved a liquor license for the Dirty Pearl Oyster Pub and Grill pending final fire and building code inspections. The business is located on the corner of South Three Notch Street and U.S. Highway 231.

The council approved a resolution declaring properties at 315 Trojan Way, owned by William E. Smith, and Southland Mobile Home Park, owned by Larry and Jade Davis, public nuisances. If not brought up to code, the city will clean the properties and assess the owners.

The Council approved a resolution allowing AT&T to relocate utility lines on Madison and Montgomery streets.

Mayor Jason A. Reeves said the final changes to the city’s new Public Works Facility are being made and a grand opening will be held at the end of the month.