Council members and staff will gather feedback from the public regarding the matter. A copy of the ordinance in its original form, complete with options for possible changes, will be available at the meeting for public review, City Manager Rod Butler said.
The City Council shelved an ordinance to ban tobacco use in parks at the regular Patterson City Council meeting Sept. 2, reversing course on a 3-1 vote two weeks prior, in favor of holding a workshop to work out the issue at a later date.
The measure died because it was not brought up for a vote on the second reading after citizens raised concerns regarding the possible infringement of smokers’ rights.
After holding a town hall meeting to discuss a smoking ordinance that would ban tobacco use in parks Dec. 9, the City Council decided to postpone a vote on the measure and schedule another town hall to gather more input from the public on Feb. 26.
The measure was scheduled for a vote at the Dec. 9 meeting, which came as a surprise to some council members who were present and thought there would only be input from the public at the meeting. Two council members were absent—Councilman Larry Buehner and Councilwoman Deborah Novelli.
Stating that the meeting was supposed to be a town hall meeting and not a special city council meeting, Councilman Dominic Farinha said he wanted to schedule a town hall, stating action would not be taken at a traditional town hall meeting.
City Manager Rod Butler said it was staff’s idea to put the measure on the agenda in case the council wanted to take a vote.
The ordinance that would ban smoking and chewing tobacco in public parks and recreation areas throughout the city passed its first test 3-1, Aug. 20, but not without a healthy debate on the subject. Councilwoman Sheree Lustgarten was the lone dissenter.
The tobacco ban would extend to all bike and hiking paths, as well as outdoor parks and recreational areas, according to a draft of the ordinance. Violators would face fines up to $1,000.
Though officials have said that there won’t be “smoking police,” first time offenders can expect to pay a $100 fine. Subsequent fines of $250 to $1,000 would apply for repeat offenders. Officials have agreed with the sentiment of critics; they would not be able to enforce the measure.
Nick Rappley can be reached at 209-568-9975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.