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City to consider smoking ban

Christine Metz

— At the request of residents, the Steamboat Springs City Council will look at a November ballot initiative to ban smoking in public places.

The council first discussed a nonsmoking ordinance at the end of its meeting Tuesday. Council members did not say what restrictions would be in place, but directed staff to draft an ordinance.

The council faces a September deadline in getting any initiative onto November’s ballot.

A ballot initiative goes through a first reading and can be amended for a final second reading. The second reading of the ballot initiative would be two weeks after the first reading, which is expected to happen Aug. 3.

Councilwoman Kathy Connell proposed putting the nonsmoking question on November’s ballot at the urging of a citizen’s group.

“There is a group of people pretty concerned about smoking and the impact of smoking in Steamboat. They would really, really like to see nonsmoking in public places,” Connell said.

The city does not allow smoking at any of its facilities, such as buses, buildings or parks, but no other smoking regulations are in place.

Connell would like the group, which includes 30 to 50 members, to bring a proposed initiative forward to council.

Connell said she does not want the ordinance to have any unintended consequences on restaurants and bars, but said an initiative would likely demand all restaurants provide a nonsmoking section.

“We need to be really sensitive to the impact on restaurants and bars. Its not something we want economically to be a hardship to them,” Connell said.

The group has looked at what other municipalities have done to limit smoking areas, Connell said.

City Manager Paul Hughes said 20 or more Colorado jurisdictions have nonsmoking restrictions in public places in varying degrees. Hughes said the ordinance, which is being worked on by the city’s legal department, could cover any public place.

” I just don’t know how far it would entail,” Hughes said.


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