Smoking in public buildings has lengthy been banned in Connecticut, however subsequent month Simsbury might extend the rule to bar lighting up or vaping at municipal parks, ballfields and even sidewalks.
The city is contemplating becoming a member of a number of different municipalities together with New Milford and Deep River which have prohibited utilizing cigarettes, cigars or e-cigarettes at any municipal recreation property.
However to clear up any uncertainty about who would implement the measure, Simsbury officers this week delayed a listening to that was scheduled for the proposed ordinance. As an alternative, residents will get their probability to supply opinions when selectmen convene the listening to Oct. 11.
Not like a number of of the bans that exist elsewhere within the state, Simsbury’s would transcend simply parks, sports activities fields, city swimming pools, playgrounds and the like.
“The scope of the ordinance says it’s prohibited in any respect (municipal) property open to the general public which incorporates sidewalks, trails, parks, playgrounds and public buildings,” Deputy First Selectman Amber Abbuhl advised selectmen at a gathering this week.
Abbuhl, Selectman Heather Goetz and Parks Director Thomas Tyburski drafted the ordinance this summer season, and the board of selectmen will resolve after the general public listening to whether or not to undertake it.
Like many Connecticut communities, Simsbury has begun discussing the way to deal with the legalization of marijuana and complaints from residents who don’t wish to scent it burning at neighborhood sports activities occasions or alongside town-owned climbing trails. College techniques ban tobacco and marijuana use on all faculty property, however municipal land is one other matter.
Quickly after legalizing marijuana, the state authorities introduced that utilizing it might be prohibited in any respect state parks and seashores, simply as tobacco smoking had been banned for years. However Connecticut permits particular person cities to set their very own guidelines. Plainville, as an illustration, has lengthy banned alcohol in public parks, and in 2021 prolonged that ban to additionally cowl smoking and vaping both tobacco or hashish.
Abbuhl mentioned the alcohol concern created some questions in Simsbury, with folks asking why alcohol isn’t addressed.
“One of many issues that did come up throughout our work on this ordinance was that Simsbury already has ordinances relating to alcohol use in municipal buildings,” she mentioned, acknowledging that ban doesn’t prolong to all outside public areas.
Abbuhl mentioned she, Goetz and Tyburski had been requested to deal with solely smoking and vaping with the proposed ordinance, and subsequently aren’t providing advice on whether or not the scope of the present alcohol rule needs to be prolonged.
The opposite concern that’s been raised is enforcement, she mentioned. Selectmen informally agreed that police could be the enforcement company, however famous that the ordinance doesn’t particularly state that.
“We did provide you with a fantastic of $100 for every offense, that put us just about in the midst of what neighboring cities had — anyplace between $50 to I believe $200,” Abbuhl mentioned.
“I’ve had folks from the general public attain out to ask about enforcement and make feedback relating to how can we as selectmen guarantee that is enforced. That’s actually not our position. We are attempting to supply a device … we wish to give our police the instruments to implement one thing,” she mentioned.
“The enforcement part is the large wild card everybody goes to be speaking about,” Selectman Chris Peterson mentioned. “Placing indicators up goes to be vital for this to be efficient so folks can level to it.”
He mentioned a particular concern is the town-run golf course.
“It’s going to be an enormous cultural change, no smoking at a golf course,” he mentioned. “It’s a fearsome factor to be the particular person who’s going to be the enforcer on the market.”
Selectmen agreed with Peterson’s suggestion to delay the general public listening to till after the city’s Tradition, Parks and Recreation Fee will get to evaluation the proposal later this month.