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Local

Approval of outdoor smoking ordinance changes up in air

Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com
Phillip Weaver (left) talks with Jennifer Chelikas, both of DeKalb, as they share a cigarette outside of Lord Stanley's Bar on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 in DeKalb.
Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia.com Phillip Weaver (left) talks with Jennifer Chelikas, both of DeKalb, as they share a cigarette outside of Lord Stanley's Bar on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Although consensus was reached Monday to vote on proposed changes to the city of DeKalb’s smoking ordinance, passage seems unlikely because of the split opinions of council members.

State law prohibits smoking in a place of employment, or within 15 feet of any entrance or exit, a window that can be opened or ventilation intake. However, a change to the city ordinance passed in 2014 took that a step further and prohibited smoking both in places of employment and on outdoor patios regardless of distance.

At the request of 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson and 6th Ward Alderman Mike Verbic, the council discussed amending the ordinance to allow smoking on eligible outdoor patios in October. It ultimately decided to take the matter before the Citizens Environmental Commission, which helped draft the 2014 ordinance, and the Economic Development Commission for consideration.

The environmental commission recommended to keep the ordinance as is, but the economic development commission wished to amend the ordinance so business owners can decide for themselves whether they want to allow smoking on their outdoor patios.

Jacobson, Verbic, 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Fagan and 7th Ward Alderman Tony Faivre showed their support in amending the agreement, while 2nd Ward Alderman Bill Finucane, 3rd Ward Alderman Michael Marquardt and 5th Ward Alderwoman Kate Noreiko were concerned with secondhand smoke issues related to smoking on patios.

DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith has been in support of maintaining the current ordinance and has said he’ll cast a tie-breaking vote, which could defeat the motion, if he must.

“[My vote] may be up in the air, but not too high,” Smith said.

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