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The Law


Single Family

Minutes of the Special and Regular Meeting of March 13, 2007

One Twin Pines Lane, Belmont, California


Discussion and Direction regarding Ordinance Regulating Secondhand Smoke

City Attorney Zafferano provided information outlining the legal basis for the regulation of second-hand smoke. He noted there is no constitutional right to smoke, and smokers are not a protected class. Cities and other jurisdictions can regulate smoking if the regulation or prohibition is not inconsistent with State law. People cannot engage in activities if it is injurious to others, even if the activity is legal. He noted that cars and factories are already regulated by the State.


City Attorney Zafferano reviewed Belmont's current smoking regulations, which outlines where smoking is allowed and where it is not. He reviewed the main provisions of the draft ordinance as provided by the Public Health Institute. He outlined alternatives for the Council to consider for regulating smoking on streets and sidewalks, as well as in multi-unit housing, including condominium and townhomes. He outlined situations where smoking would be allowed under the proposed ordinance. Council could consider a prohibition of smoking in vehicles if they are being used for employment purposes, and clarified that there is no proposal for regulating smoking in private passenger vehicles. He outlined enforcement options, and reviewed issues to be addressed.


In response to Council questions, City Attorney Zafferano clarified that a prohibition on the sale of cigarettes could violate International Commerce laws, but he noted that the City can restrict the time, place and manner of such sales.


Mayor Feierbach stated that public testimony would be taken at this time, and that no decisions would be made at this evening's meeting.


R. Mark Korwald, Belmont resident, stated that he respects rights as long as they do not infringe on other rights. He supports the ban.


Chris Middleton, American Hotels/Holiday Inn Express, expressed concern regarding the effect that such a ban would have on the hotels and the potential loss of revenue from transit occupancy taxes. People might go to hotels in neighboring cities instead.


Mary Morrissey-Parden, Belmont business owner, applauded the City's efforts but expressed concern about a shot-gun approach. The Chamber of Commerce was not consulted, and the City should engage in dialog regarding this topic. Economic development could be impacted by a ban.


Becky Husmann, on behalf of some residents at Bonnie Brae Terrace, noted that the Bonnie Brae residents present at the meeting support any prohibition to be considered by the Council. She noted that there is no enforcement of the current smoking regulations at Bonnie Brae.


Serena Chen, American Lung Association, expressed support for the ban. She outlined the number of complaints her organization has received regarding second-hand smoke.


Patricia Dixon, Redwood City resident, expressed support for the ban. She presented copies of an article she wrote in the newspaper regarding this topic. She suffers from effects of second-hand smoke.


Risa Horowitz, Belmont resident, expressed support for the ban. She suffers from asthma which is related to exposure to second-hand smoke. People will come to Belmont if it becomes a no-smoking city.


Peter Markovich, Belmont resident, stated he was disappointed because he suggested that the Council ask the community regarding this subject, which was not done. He concurs that the situation at Bonnie Brae is important to address. Most people in Belmont do not support a total ban, which would also restrict workers, construction, and could affect our transit occupancy taxes. There are other more important health issues.


Zelko Zivkovic, Belmont resident, expressed concern for what other bans may be forthcoming after this. She recommended that the City Council not accept tax dollars from cigarette sales.


Sheila Strand, Belmont resident, lives in an apartment and says her husband has cancer. They have sealed the vents and have kept the windows closed all winter because of second-hand smoke, but she expressed concern regarding the upcoming summer season when she will need to open windows. She recognizes smokers have rights.


Judy King, Belmont resident, stated that the Council was asked to declare second-hand smoke a public nuisance, but not asked to ban smoking. She has spoken to others regarding this issue, including nonsmokers, who do not support the ban. The City could experience a loss of tax revenue. She recommended that the Council declare second-hand smoke a public nuisance and revisit the issue in one year like they have done with other ordinances.


Krista Kuehnhackl, Belmont resident, stated that a ban on smoking is too extreme. She supports both smokers' and nonsmokers' rights. There is a need for clarification regarding some of the definitions in the proposed ordinance, and there is a need for reasonable regulations.


Loring DeMartini, Belmont business owner, stated that he does not like smoking, but restrictions will have a negative effect on restaurants and businesses in that it will drive business away.


Margo Cheechov, Belmont resident, stated that the proposed solution is out of proportion to the original request. Many people do not support the proposed ban.


Mary Pack, Belmont resident, expressed concerns regarding the cost to enforce the proposed ban. She was told the City would not enforce the ordinance. This would pit neighbor against neighbor. She did not elect the City Council to deal with issues such as this. She has an allergy to pine trees but has not requested that the City cut down all the pine trees. She recommended that this matter be put to a vote of the people.


Pam Clarke, Belmont resident/Belmont business owner, stated she has banned smoking on her school campus for the past 25 years. Her teachers smoke off premises. She would lose staff if this ban were to go into effect. She recommended having a dialog with business leaders regarding this matter.


Catherine Derringer, Tri-County Apartment Association, stated that her organization would like to work with the City to address issues regarding liability should the ban be enacted.


Dian Kiser, California Clean Air Project (CCAP)/American Lung Association, stated that the Air Resources Board declared second-hand smoke a contaminant, which has led cities to initiate various levels of smoking bans. Her organization receives calls requesting referrals to smoke-free multi-unit housing. She described the free smoking cessation workshops that are offered to smokers.


Narinder Dhalliwal, CCAP, noted that Councilmembers have stated that sometimes cities need to take actions to protect their citizens. People are asking for smoke-free living. She stated that some cities have set aside a percentage of apartments as no-smoking.


Linda Civitello-Joy, Breathe California, stated that her organization receives calls regarding second-hand smoke issues. Breathe California offers cessation classes and nicotine patches.


Dorothy Vura-Weiss, San Mateo County Asthma Coalition/Health Department, outlined death rates due to various diseases. She supports a smoking ban in apartment buildings.


Evelyn Long, American Cancer Society, offered her organization's support regarding this issue.


Becky Sha, Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE), stated her organization works with para-educators regarding smoking issues, and provides adult cessation workshops.


Jim Kelly, American Cancer Society, helps cancer survivors and talks to kids about the danger of smoking. He supports the ordinance, but noted a gap, since it does not address smoking addictions. He suggested that smokers work with each other to avoid smoking around others.


Gabriella Lemus, expressed support for the ban. She noted that clean air is important.


Amanda Cue, San Mateo County Tobacco Coalition, stated that Belmont could set an example for other cities in San Mateo County, and an example for young people. She supports the ordinance.


George Hubbard, Belmont resident, supports the ordinance and the rights of nonsmokers. There should be no grandfathering clause or grace period, as these will not help existing issues.


Catherine Barber, Belmont resident, stated that she chooses businesses that prohibit smoking. She supports smokers' rights to smoke where the smoke does not affect others. There is a need for balance for smokers, and she expressed concern regarding a complete ban in apartment buildings.


Doug Mottern, Belmont business owner, stated that he spent money on permits for the area of his business that allows smoking. Outside smoking should not be banned. He expressed concern regarding the effect this ban would have on businesses.


Ron Denman, Chamber of Commerce President, expressed concern regarding the restriction of personal freedoms. The Chamber actively supports businesses, and there is a need for a level playing field with other cities. He noted that condominium owners have the same ownership rights as single-family homeowners. He recommended the Council declare second-hand smoke a public nuisance, with provisions for recourse.


Jeff Morino, Belmont resident, supports the ban, but not all the provisions as outlined. He supports the ban in parks and fairs, but not on sidewalks. He recognizes the issue regarding apartment buildings.


Chris Wozniak, Belmont resident, expressed support for a ban in private, shared ventilated areas, and a ban in public areas and on the street. Belmont being a no-smoking city may be attractive for outsiders.


Suzanne Francis, Belmont resident, supports the ordinance but expressed concerns regarding some of its provisions. There is a need for balance. She also expressed concerns regarding the affect on condos and townhouses, and noted that some of the single-family homes on Hastings share a common wall. She noted that some single-family homes are close together.


Leah Cowan, Notre Dame de Namur University student, stated that the City should consult University students when considering this ordinance.


Dave Bauer, Belmont resident, supports smoking cessation, but expressed concerns regarding the effect a ban would have on businesses. This could also impede rights in one's home.


Ryan Butler, Belmont resident, stated that he enjoys clean air in restaurants and bars. People should go outside to smoke. This is beyond a neighbor-to-neighbor issue.


Edward McGraw, Belmont business owner, stated he is against a total ban. He expressed concern that people will go to businesses in other cities should this ordinance pass.


Mayor Feierbach thanked everyone for their comments.


ADJOURNMENT at this time, being 10:15 P.M.


Terri Cook City Clerk


Meeting Tape Recorded and Videotaped

Audio Recording 661


To let the Belmont City Council know you support smoke-free multi-family housing, and how this decision can encourage changes around the United States, saving lives, please use this email address (the mayor and each council member will receive a copy of your email).

Smoke-Free Housing Consultants, Jacque Petterson
12274 Bandera Rd., Ste. 210, Helotes, Texas 78023-4385
(210)  383-3244
(9AM to 8PM Monday - Saturday Central Time Zone)
Fax: (210) 267-1227





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