Outdoor Smoking Law Delayed Again

A local law regulating smoking in some outdoor locations has again been postponed by the Ann Arbor city council. The law would regulate smoking outside of public buildings and also potentially in areas of some city parks.

Council action to postpone the ordinance until April 7 came at the council’s March 3, 2014 meeting. The new ordinance had been also been postponed at the council’s Feb. 3 meeting.

Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), sponsor of the new proposed local law, had appeared before the city’s park advisory commission at its Feb. 25 meeting to brief commissioners on the proposal and solicit feedback.

Made punishable under the proposed ordinance through a $50 civil fine would be smoking within 20 feet of: (1) bus stops; (2) entrances, windows and ventilation systems of the Blake Transit Center; and (3) entrances, windows and ventilation systems any city-owned building.

The ordinance would also authorize the city administrator to have signs posted designating certain parks or portions of parks as off limits for outdoor smoking, and to increase the distance from entrances to city buildings where outdoor smoking is prohibited.

Where no signs are posted noting the smoking prohibition, a citation could be issued only if someone doesn’t stop smoking immediately when asked to stop.

An existing Washtenaw County ordinance already prohibits smoking near entrances, windows and ventilation systems, according to the staff memo accompanying the resolution – but the county’s ordinance can be enforced only by the county health department. The memo further notes that the Michigan Clean Indoor Air Act does not regulate outdoor smoking.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]

Section: Civic News Ticker

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