Council Poised to End Beach Smoking Ban

In an effort to end a lawsuit filed against the City of Gulfport, council members voted unanimously to remove a smoking ban on the beach during first reading Tuesday night.

Gulfport City Council members are moving forward with lifting a smoking ban on the beach. During a first reading Tuesday, all five members voted to remove the ban from the beach and allow designated smoking areas at athletic fields and facilities as well as children's outdoor play areas.

The decision to remove the ban on the beach comes just one month after a judge in Sarasota ruled the City cannot enforce outdoor smoking restrictions.

"A judge has ruled it's unconstitutional," Gulfport City Attorney Andrew Salzman said.

The City is currently facing a lawsuit filed by St. Petersburg Attorney Andy Strickland, and the new ordinance is a compromise between the city and Mr. Strickland that would end the pending litigation.

“There’s been no opinions out there, so that has a lot to do with the compromise . . . we never had any precedent before, now we have a court decision,” Salzman said.

Salzman and Strickland worked together on the new ordinance and say if it is passed during second reading on Tuesday, Feb 5, at 7 p.m., then the lawsuit will be dropped.

Strickland claims the ban on the beach is unconstitutional and filed the lawsuit in June 2012, after knowingly lighting up against the rules and receiving a ticket for smoking on the beach.

More information

The following is the memo attached to Ordinance 2013-01 online:

"The City of Gulfport is currently involved in litigation concerning the constitutionality of Section 17-31. A recent Sarasota county court decision has clarified some of the issues involved in the City's litigation. The judge has ruled that the City of Sarasota cannot enforce smoking restrictions on outdoor public properties that this authority is provided to the State of Florida. The City of Gulfport's Ordinance is based fundamentally on the City of Sarasota's Ordinance."

The proposed ordinance provides the following:

  • Removes reference to public beach area
  • The City will provide designated smoking areas at athletic fields/facilities and children's outdoor play areas. The designated areas must provide for visual access to the athletic fields, facilities and children's outdoor play areas.

Related articles:

SavEcig January 17, 2013 at 04:04 PM
It's called "Littering" and there are already rules against that. Perhaps you would like special rules for the litter you don't like? http://www.savecig.com
RJ Gronewold January 17, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Ya I know.. drug addicts get real testy.. if ya mess with'm.. etc..
CJ January 17, 2013 at 05:15 PM
RJ. My wife, son, and I recently went there for the first time also. I think it is the place I am thinking about. It's up north of or even with Clearwater, right? I thought you might find this extra interesting and cast more thought about that beautiful spot. It seemed appropriate I mention it. As we were leaving it, and almost by accident...we happened to stop and read a big sign that was posted there. It said that is the same beach spot where the dolphin in the movie, ''A Dolphin Tale'', was found and rescued from. I remember when I read that , it made the spot seem more special. If I have the wrong beach, somebody here will let me know it...lol. And...''no''....I am not trying to say the Dolphin was injured from the Cig butts...lol....I just thought you would like to know that fact.
CJ January 17, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Enjoy your moment, Strickland. Victory? Yes...but just a shallow one. ''Soon'', Florida ''will'' have ''State'' smoking bans that cities can then use to enact smoking bans that ''will'' stick. Much of the USA already has these bans. Florida will follow. Most of us expected the bans to possibly be short lived for now. Obviously, the State of Florida dragged it's feet slower than anticipated, but it ''is'' going to happen. You know that, and so did many readers here...and so did the city council who helped implement the ban. It is called baby steps. You can be sure, the city is not going to throw the signs away. I do agree with you for doing the lawsuit and protecting the law. It was known all along if the ''State'' does not ban smoking, then that trumps any city ban. I don't know if you smoke or not, but I can respect a lawyer going through the trouble you did even if you did not smoke...just to protect our legal system...or maybe just for the publicity? Either reason, even both, is fine. That is how our country works and nothing wrong with defending a legal position and maybe making some money also. After all...we all know you got most of your money back from the courts from going to jail...but the court ''always'' keeps a little of it...don't they? All that helps explain the use of unenforceable bans. The hassle it makes for people is ''still'' a great deterrent for most of us. Unless, of course, we have the kind of money to burn a lawyer does.
Scott Ewing January 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Yes RJ (and the rest of you) you ARE a hater. Some people just have that overwhelming need. A generation ago, it would have been blacks, before that Jews, before that drinkers, Irish, opium smokers, smokers again, Japaneese, Chineese, etc. The mentality is the same; only the target varies. I smoke, I don't litter, and I'm not effecting YOUR health, because secondhand smoke is just an excuse to be a hater. The entire notion is science fraud.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »