Garden City Update…
No longer unanimous, Garden City moves forward on smoking ban; hookah bar owner fears impact
July 15, 2014
By Katy Moeller
The Garden City Council opted to move ahead Monday with a second reading of an ordinance that bans smoking in public places, except bars and bingo halls where patrons are 21 or older.
But not before City Councilman William Mitchell tried to quash it. Mitchell moved to take it off the agenda, but failed to get a second to his motion, Mayor John Evans said. The vote on the second reading of the ordinance was 3-1, with Mitchell dissenting.
A public hearing on the proposed ordinance was held on June 23, when the first reading of the ordinance was done. No more public hearings are planned, but the public may comment in writing.
Both Councilman Mitchell and Mayor Evans oppose the smoking ban. Evans told the Statesman it creates unfair hardship for hookah bars, which depend financially on patrons who are under 21. The attorney for Hollywood Hookah sent a letter to the city.
“My client and other hookah bar owners in the community sell a product that is legally available for purchase by anyone over the age of 18 years,” Attorney Chad Lamer said in the letter. “In fact, the majority of my client’s customer base is between the ages of 18 and 21.”
Lamer said the ordinance is inconsistent because it allows “exclusive retail tobacconists” to sell for consumption on premises to customers 18 and older, but does not allow hookah bars, or “tobacco entertainment facilities,” to sell to those under 21.
Smokefree Idaho pulled its support for the ordinance because of its exemption for bars and bingo halls.
Garden City’s smoking ban ordinance is indoors-only. It would not prohibit smoking in public places outdoors.
The third reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Monday, July 28. If the council approves it after that reading, it becomes law. The council can amend the ordinance before the third reading, or take it off the agenda entirely (preventing its adoption).
Email public comments to email@example.com or mail/drop them off at: Garden City Hall, 6015 Glenwood Street, Garden City, ID 83714.