Boise residents Mikel Hautzinger and Miles Stirewalt have filed a request for a regulatory-taking analysis with the City of Boise, on behalf of three hookah bar owners. The "regulatory takings analysis" procedure comes from Idaho State code, related to the Fifth Amendment provision that no citizen should be deprived of something like a business without compensation.
Hautzinger said three business owners from the Babylon, Alibaba and the once-planned Aladdin hookah bars have closed up their shops in response to the smoke-free ordinances.
"This is really a sad story," said Hautzinger. "They’ve left oppressive government in the Middle East to create these businesses. It’s terribly sad."
Hautzinger does not have a legal background, but investigated the regulatory-taking statute of Idaho code with legal aide and friend Stirewalt.
"We pretty much agreed that it was asinine that city leaders could do this to businesses," said Stirewalt.
Their argument is that when the City of Boise passed the smoke-free ordinances late last year, they harmed the livelihoods of these business owners. The law banned smoking in indoor facilities where employees are present, closing the hookah bars, where smoking indoors is the name of the game, for good.
The city has 42 days to respond to the request, after which they will hand it off to their attorney's office, or dismiss the claim outright. Stirewalt suggests that he would appeal a dismissal.