Smoking ban a no go in Fair HavenJuly 23,2013By Lucia Suarez
FAIR HAVEN — A 2-2 vote by the Select Board stymied an effort to ban smoking within the fenced area of the park.
With Selectwoman Claire Stanley absent, the remaining four members of the board could not muster the three votes needed to approve an amendment to the town’s park ordinance to ban smoking.
Selectmen Jeff Sheldon and Robert Richards voted in favor of the ban, while board Chairman Christopher Cole and Selectman David Ward voted against it.
The amendment to the park ordinance — seemingly a compromise by the Select Board — would have banned smoking from within the marble-fenced area of the park, designating all other areas including the bus stop, the parking lot and where the cannon sits as smoking areas.
Before voting Richards, who was the most adamant in his support for the ban, called other members “spineless” for questioning the need for the ban and letting a handful of complaints against it sway their vote so easily.
He said smoking is a danger to people’s health and for that reason it should be passed, adding it was not a smoker’s right to endanger his health. He said he did not want to have to chose where to sit while at the park because of people smoking.
“I have not had to ask them to move and I don’t want to have to,” Richards said.
He went on to say that he fully expects people to be courteous about smoking, but the amendment will say on paper that they can’t.
“I don’t think you will have to enforce it most of the time, but if you do (have to), you will some teeth,” Richards said.
Cole said he does not believe the town needs it. Ward said he spoke with several people — 22 in total — who were both in favor or against the ban.
“You can’t enforce it,” he said. “I would have been in favor of it if it was for special events.”
Sheldon questioned how it would be enforced — “I don’t see a police officer going in there and citing someone for smoking,” he said — though ultimately he cast his vote in favor of the ban.
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