Beach Smoking Ban to be Discussed at Workshop
The Gulfport City Council voted 4 to 1 during Tuesday night's regular council meeting to discuss an ordinance that would make the City of Gulfport's beach area tobacco free at an upcoming workshop.
Vice Mayor David Hastings first talked about introducing a smoking ban on the beach during a July 24th Beach Cleanup event. Since then, he had City staff develop an ordinance that would make most of the beach smoke free. The Gulfport City Council addressed the first reading of the proposed ordinance Tuesday night.
According to the proposed ordinance, 2011-13, the City would have a designated smoking area at the beach, but would ban smoking or the use of tobacco products on the beach.
The proposed ordinance was expected to be voted on during Tuesday night's meeting.
Vice Mayor Hastings said, “We have an ordinance here before us, so I’m prepared to answer any questions and I think it’s time that our city take this action, so I just assume, do it now.”
But, several council members thought the issue would be discussed during a workshop and not voted on just yet.
“This is something we all want to take seriously. . . I just really wanted to be able to talk about it, be open about it, spend some time on the subject and get some questions answered," Council member Barbara Banno said.
Council member Sam Henderson says, “I was under the understanding that we all had concensus that this was going to be a discussion topic.”
“I expected it to be at a workshop, I was surprised to see it in the packet,” Council member Jennifer Salmon said.
“I guess I just feel like if we have the discussion now, then it’s gonna go to vote and it’s either going to get set to city ordinance or just be shut down, where we might have more time ot talk abut it during a workshop,” Banno said.
Mayor Mike Yakes added that the majority of council wanted to discuss the issue on an upcoming workshop.
Council member Sam Henderson made a motion to workshop the proposed ordinance and Council member Barbara Banno seconded the motion.
Council voted 4 to 1, with Hastings casting the lone vote, to put the issue on the agenda in a workshop.
City Clerk Lesley DeMuth said the proposed ordinance would be on the September 22, 2011, workshop at Gulfport City Hall at 3:30 p.m.
If a smoking ban were to take affect, the City would receive signage, educational and marketing materials from the Pinellas County Health Department's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
You can view the entire proposed ordinance on the city's website.