"When you look at how you start to implement the ordinance and how the implementation will affect each individual business, the differences are pretty drastic," Assistant City Manager Mike Flad said.
The council last week decided to require a 5-foot buffer zone between smokers and pedestrian areas in outdoor dining areas, which was a 15-foot reduction from the ordinance requirements as proposed. But that could create a wide variety of scenarios for where smokers can and cannot smoke, depending on the layout of each individual business — especially in regard to where to set up designated smoking areas, Principal City Planner Michael Forbes said.
"We've been looking at the different restaurants, focusing on the downtown area, but looking at other areas," he said. "And since different restaurants have very different configurations for their patio areas … how this plays out in terms of practicality will be very different from restaurant to restaurant."
Implementing the ordinance at some eateries on San Fernando Boulevard, for instance, may prove to be problematic because they have front-side patios that are in close proximity to pedestrian pathways, he said. In some cases that would mean the patio would have to be removed completely, he said.
On the other hand, some backside patios would leave plenty of room for designated smoking areas and from pedestrian pathways, he said. And a place like the Burbank Bar and Grill, which has a second-story patio, would not be required to have a buffer zone at all.
Clarifying the precise definition of what qualifies as a pedestrian walkway was among the chief objectives of the council on Tuesday.
Do you think a workable smoking ban ordinance is possible? E-mail your responses to email@example.com; mail them to the Burbank Leader, 221 N. Brand Blvd., 2nd Floor, Glendale, CA 91203. Please spell your name and include your address and phone number for verification purposes only.
CHRIS WIEBE covers City Hall and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at chris.wiebelatimes.com.