Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Extra Public Hearing Added on Anti-Smoking Ordinances

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Boise city officials want to give the public some more time to voice their concerns or support for two proposed ordinance that could dramatically curtail smoking in the City of Trees.

Public testimony on the proposals will be taken on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 4 p.m., in addition to the already-scheduled hearing set for later that day at 6 p.m. Both hearings will be in the City Council chambers at Boise City Hall.

After listening to an update on the ordinances during yesterday's work session, City Council members agreed to the extra allotment of time, but also cautioned that they wanted a limited agenda in order to accommodate the hearing.

"I don't want to be telling people to make it short if it gets to be 5:30 p.m.," said Council Member David Eberle.

The council also had an animated discussion regarding some proposed changes to the ordinances including:

-Making Eighth Street and the Grove Plaza completely smoke free. The council also agreed to create a smoking zone not too far from the Boise Center.
-Prohibiting smoking in all public parks with designated smoking sections only in Ann Morrison and Julia Davis parks.
-An exception for tobacconists, with a proposed restriction that 95 percent of the retailer's business be tobacco-related.

But the question remained whether Boise's hookah bars would be threatened by a new ordinance.

"Doesn't this, in fact, end hookah bars in Boise?" asked Council Member T.J. Thomson.

"The proposed ordinance would not allow smoking in any location that promotes nightclub activity," answered Boise City spokesman Adam Park.

"Let's face it," said Eberle. "We have known for 40 years that smoking is dangerous. It's self-destructive behavior."

If approved, the new ordinances could be effective as early as Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. Bars or restaurants that violate the law would be charged per violation, and could continue to be cited for each incident throughout the day or evening, without a cap on the number of citations received per day.

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