Village board restricts smoking, bids longtime member…

118 points

Mar. 26—Cooperstown’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday, March 22, to ban smoking and vaping in certain areas owned by the village.

The “smoke-free zones” include Village Hall and adjoining land at 22 Main Street; Doubleday Field, including the grandstand, bleachers and other spectator and player areas; Council Rock Park, Lakefront Park, Pioneer Park, Badger Park, Three-Mile Point Park and Fairy Spring Park.

The last two parks are village owned but not in the village’s boundaries. Three-Mile Point Park is in the town of Otsego on the west side of Otsego Lake. Fairy Spring Park is in the town of Middlefield on the east side of Otsego Lake.

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh told The Daily Star on Tuesday, March 23, that the village had passed a smoking ban about 12 years ago, but it was not done as a local law and the language needed to be updated to include vaping.

The village held a public hearing on the law Monday, but Tillapaugh said only few a people commented or sent emails or letters about the matter.

Jennifer Hill, an Oneonta resident who is also the community engagement coordinator for Tobacco Free Communities serving Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties, also addressed the trustees on the matter.

“She was encouraging us to make it a local law,” Tillapaugh said. “It is a lot easier for people to find our laws. We have them codified on our website.”

A violation in the smoke-free zones could bring a fine of up to $100, according to the law.

Monday’s meeting was the final one for Trustee Jim Dean, who is retiring after 10 years on the board.

Dean, 80, previously told The Daily Star that he decided to step down when he learned Hanna Bergene had agreed to run to replace him. Bergene was elected Tuesday, March 16. Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk was also reelected.

Tillapaugh said Tuesday she and Dean started on the board together in 2011 and she will miss his views and service.

“It is always good to have younger representatives on the board and we are happy to have Hanna and Macguire (Benton) become trustees in recent years,” Tillapaugh said. “It is also good to have the voice of experience there.

“It is always good to have different view points,” she continued, “and (Jim) could bring a different view point to the board.”

The village will hold two more public hearings in April. There will be a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, April 5, to consider the 2021-2022 budget. The hearing will take place after the village’s re-organizational meeting.

There will also be a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, April 26, to consider a special permit for a proposed building on a lot on Pioneer Street. The lot is south of Elm Street and was recently bought by an owner wishing to build a house there.

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