Smyrna council expected to vote on park smoking ban tonight
by Haisten Willis
April 21, 2014 11:18 AM | 1889 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA— After tabling the issue last month, Smyrna’s City Council is expected to vote on a smoking ban during a scheduled meeting Monday at 7:30 p.m.

The move was tabled because some council members had concerns and questions, including long-time councilman Wade Lnenicka. He asked how the ordinance would impact the city-owned Fox Creek Golf Course, which is operated through a concessions vendor that contracts with the city.

“There needs to be more discussion on those issues,” Lnenicka said at a previous meeting.

Unless changes are made during the meeting, the golf course will be exempt from the ordinance.

“It’s basically still the same ordinance we put forth a month ago,” said Smyrna City Administrator Eric Taylor.

Other parks will have designated smoking areas, though the exact locations haven’t been decided yet. Smoking will also be allowed on sidewalks and other public rights of way.

“We’ve been working out making sure there are designated areas for people who do choose to smoke for whatever reasons they have,” said Councilwoman Teri Anulewicz. “We need to have somewhere where they can do it where it’s not making a negative impact.”

Electronic cigarettes will probably be exempt.

“The science on e-cigarettes is very much an evolving issue,” she said. “We didn’t want to codify that yet.”

The ordinance was first heard during a work session March 3. Mayor Max Bacon was surprised it was tabled later that month, saying council members had plenty of time to get their questions answered.

Anulewicz said Smyrna is one of the last cities in the county to adopt this type of smoking prohibition, and recalled a recent showing of the Disney movie Frozen at Tolleson Park where people were smoking. If passed, there will either be a 30-day delay before the ordinance goes into effect or it will take effect July 1.

The proposal Smyrna is considering doesn’t reach as far as an ordinance that was brought up in Kennesaw last fall banning smoking in all forms — cigars, cigarettes, pipes and even e-cigarettes — across the city, including in parks, street corners, bars, playgrounds and inside privately owned businesses.

Kennesaw saw backlash from some residents who thought that ban amounted to government overreach, and the ordinance was never passed.

Smyrna’s council did pass an ordinance last month banning consumption of alcohol in city-owned parks, with the exception of parks playing host to city-sponsored events.

Google still studying Fiber installation

The Smyrna council agenda also includes two items related to Google. The company has picked nine metro Atlanta cities — including Smyrna — to possibly install an Internet service called Fiber that would allow for Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than average broadband Internet. Fiber also offers television services.

One would allow Google to install what Taylor described as utility shed-type buildings to house fiber. The other is a non-disclosure agreement between Google and the city saying the company will not release certain information it’s asking the city for.

“Some of the information we’re giving them is public information,” Taylor said. “But some we want protected. The last thing we want is this information appearing on Google Earth.”

Other than that, Taylor said the process seems to be going great. The city first rolled out its ultra-fast Internet in Kansas City, but Taylor said the company has had a few problems there and is doing due-diligence this time around before getting started. He wasn’t sure of a timeline for when the service will be available to residents.

Anulewicz said she thinks the city will be offered Fiber once the study is complete.

“I feel confident we can do all we need to do to meet their requirements,” she said.

Smyrna council meetings are held at city hall, 2800 King Street in downtown Smyrna.

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