Proposal moves forward to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Proposal moves forward to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas

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Members of Charleston City Council's planning committee discussed amendments to an outdoor dining ordinance passed last year.

These include prohibiting smoking in a restaurant's outdoor dining area; buying fences for restaurants that offer outdoor dining; and widening the space between the fence and the sidewalk.

Scott Miller, the owner of Ichiban/Bar 101, said he supports smoking bans, both indoors and outdoors.

"If they repeal the smoking ban, I would never allow smoking in Bar 101, and we never did allow it in Ichiban anyway," Miller said.

Currently, people in Charleston cannot smoke within 15 feet of a restaurant's door, according to City Manager David Molegaard. It's already forbidden to smoke inside restaurants and bars.

"We want to make it very clear so it's very enforceable that this is not a smoking corral, this is an outside dining area," Molegaard said.

Some people who fear secondhand smoke said they support the ban--even if they don't live here.

"I think it would probably disturb their meal, you really don't want to smell smoke while you're eating if you're not a smoker," said Angela Barker, of Princeton. "There's probably little kids sitting out there."

Others said they feel they can hardly smoke anywhere these days.

"People should be able to smoke where they want to," said Dalton Foster, of Essonite. "It's a free country. It's America."

Members approved the amendments to Bill 7572. Molegaard suggested the city would front the costs for fencing if restaurants paid a $500 fee annually. Members also approved the amendment that proposes the gap between fences and curbs be extended from 36 to at least 42 inches. The change would make these spaces more accessible for those using wheelchairs.

Before these changes pass, the finance committee and the City Council must vote on the amendments. Both bodies will meet on Monday, May 6.