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No-smoking ordinance approved

Late-night session sees decision to ban smoking in Burbank by City Council in 3-2 vote.

March 28, 2007|By Chris Wiebe

CITY HALL — The City Council on Tuesday moved to join the ranks of cities like Santa Monica and Calabasas by putting limits on smoking in certain outdoor areas in Burbank.

The ordinance, which the council adopted in a 3-2 vote, will ban smoking in several targeted areas in the downtown, the Chandler Bikeway and restaurant’s outdoor dining areas. Slated to go into effect in May, the law will return to the council for a second vote before being finalized.

Mayor Todd Campbell lauded the ordinance’s passage as among the current council’s greatest legislative accomplishments.

“Nothing will ever be a perfect ordinance, but I truly believe that the passage of this type of ordinance will have immeasurable benefit for the community as a whole,” he said. “And I’m very proud of it, and I consider it one of the council’s — and one of my — highest achievements, because it will be able to, in my mind, improve the economics of the city, improve the public health and prevent children and others who are vulnerable to cigarette smoke from suffering from any type of health effects.”

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Though the original draft of the ordinance would have required smokers to put a distance of 20 feet between them and restricted areas, the council opted to reduce that distance to five feet in order to provide more flexibility.

“As it was originally written, it would have pretty much banned smoking outdoors in most places, and I thought that was too much,” said Councilman Dave Golonski, who voted against the ordinance.

But the council’s decision was an improvement on the original draft that was too far-reaching, he added.

“I definitely support the need to take some action,” he said. “I just would have rather gone about it in a different approach and provided the least restrictive measures first.”

Burbank business owner Joe Georges had worried that passage of the ordinance would have forced him to close his downtown hookah lounge, where patrons come to smoke hookah, a water-cooked tobacco pipe that sometimes uses flavored tobacco.

But Georges will only be required to push his outdoor patio back five feet from the sidewalk, not shut the area down completely, he said.

“I’m very grateful that they thought about me staying in business,” he said. “So I can’t ask for much more. It may give me a little dip in business but it’s not going to put me out of business.”

The council’s vote limits smoking in common areas in multi-family housing complexes; public parks and facilities; outdoor service areas like near kiosks and ATM machines; public transit stations; outdoor gatherings and events such as concerts, sporting events and parades.

Though smoking will be permitted on the course at DeBell Golf Course, the prohibition will apply to outdoor dining areas at DeBell.

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