Petaluma approves new smoking restrictions


The anti-smoking ordinance that was initially under consideration would have allowed smoking in no more than 20 percent of hotel and motel rooms, but at the last minute, the City Council decided in favor of a complete smoking ban, Councilwoman Teresa Barrett said Tuesday morning.

The ordinance also bans outdoor smoking in areas including bus stops, dining areas, recreation facilities, and outside designated smoking areas at public events.

In a letter to the City Council submitted Monday, the North Bay Association of Realtors objected to the ban.

Stephen Liebling, chair of association's local government relations committee, argued in the letter that the ordinance would prohibit property owners from using their property for an otherwise lawful activity.

"In practical effect, this could mean the exclusion of smokers from purchasing condos in the city of Petaluma," Liebling said.

Smokers who live in multi-unit buildings would have to smoke in designated areas, smoke in their homes in violation of the ordinance, or move, he said.

"Moving out of the city or to a single-family home would constitute a significant hardship for many, especially those with moderate or fixed incomes," Liebling said.

Barrett said the owners of hotels and motels were not opposed to the complete smoking ban.

The ordinance will take effect on Aug. 1, 2013, at buildings still under construction and on Jan. 1, 2014, at existing housing units, hotels and motels, said Petaluma Police Chief Pat Williams, a supporter of the ordinance.

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