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DeKalb City Council sets temporary rules on e-cigs, teen clubs

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:16 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 3:01 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – Electronic cigarette retailers and teen nightclub operators looking to move into the city of DeKalb will have to work within the limits of a temporary law.

During their meeting Monday night, DeKalb aldermen approved an ordinance that will be in effect for 180 days, giving city officials time to draft permanent laws and licensing procedures to handle the businesses.

“If somebody came in and wanted to start one of these enterprises, [the ordinance] would give the city council the ability to have due diligence and look into the nature and scope of the business,” City Attorney Dean Frieders said.

The temporary ordinance applies to establishments where e-cigarettes – battery-powered devices that simulate smoking – account for 20 percent or more of sales or revenue. Frieders said retailers in DeKalb who sell e-cigarettes don’t come close to the 20 percent threshold.

The ordinance also deals with teen nightclubs, those that don’t sell alcohol and boast entertainment and dancing for patrons between the ages of 14 and 35.

DeKalb doesn’t have either of these types of businesses, but city officials see the potential for some to open, Mayor John Rey said.

“This ordinance establishes the protection of public safety,” Rey said. “There may be interest in establishing social clubs and we have a limited ordinance that doesn’t address things that have been a problem, such as crime and parking issues.”

In the meantime, operators will be subjected to a background check and licensing procedure similar to the one for obtaining a liquor license.

An applicant would pay a $5,000 application fee and undergo a background check. City staff will review the application for safety concerns, siting and zoning issues, proximity to schools, noise and other potential issues. After the review, the city council would consider issuing a license.

After unanimously voting in favor of the first reading and waiving the second reading, aldermen unanimously approved the ordinance.

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