Belmont approves smoking ordinance

Belmont approved its controversial smoking ordinance again Tuesday, making way for small wording changes and clarifications in a document that two council members have said is inherently flawed.

Nothing significant changed in the ordinance after its narrow approval on Sept. 11, although the amendments approved Tuesday night clarified the 20-foot smoking buffers from public places and communal living areas.

The amendment also dictated that if leases turn over before a 14-month initial grace period ends, the nonsmoking clause goes into effect for the incoming residents.

“In the last year and a half, lots of people have commented on various parts of the ordinance, and the last meeting was the first time we actually had [an ordinance] in front of us, [and] was two weeks ago, so we want to make sure that if people have questions, they can look in the ordinance and find what they’re looking for,” City Attorney Marc Zafferano said.

The ordinance could receive its second reading at the next scheduled meeting on Oct. 9, and would go into effect 30 days later.

Under theordinance, smoking would be prohibited in indoor and outdoor workplaces — except smoke shops operated by a single person — as well as common areas in multi-unit residences and homes that share floors or ceilings with other units.

Landlords in Belmont would also now insert no-smoking terms in their residential leases, effective 14 months from adoption.

Smoking would be allowed in single-family and detached homes, designated areas, personal vehicles, and streets and sidewalks, unless they are being used as workplaces or for city events. If a street or sidewalk is within 20 feet of a prohibited area, smoking is only allowed if the smoker is just passing through.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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