Smoking would be banned in parks and other green spaces. (Click to enlarge)
By SARAH KLEPNER
Between granting an exception to the tree preservation ordinance and a discussion about putting a sign in front of borough hall, Fair Haven’s borough council continued to debate the merits of a smoking ban in borough parks Monday night.
As currently drafted, a proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking on all non-impervious surfaces in borough green spaces such as Fair Haven Fields and Natural Area. Smoking would be allowed on adjacent hard surfaces, such as parking lots and sidewalks.
In a friendly but pointed back-and-forth, dividing lines that had emerged during earlier talks remained.
“I think it’s a severe overstepping,” said councilman Rowland Wilhelm. “Is it even constitutional?”
Borough attorney Sal Alfieri declined to answer, explaining after the meeting that constitutional law is not within his expertise.
Councilman Robert Marchese authored the draft ordinance.
“In terms of what we’re taking about, it’s not too invasive,” Marchese said, adding afterward that he favors small government and wrote the draft ordinance accordingly.
Borough administrator Theresa Casagrande noted that smoking is already banned on other borough properties.
Wilhelm’s objection to the ban is not unconditional, he indicated.
“I would have less of a problem with this if we were talking about just during special events,” he conceded.
No one from the audience commented on the proposal.
Mayor Ben Lucarelli weighed in afterward.
“As a a former smoker, I think it’s a good compromise,” he told redbankgreen. “It helps to get people away from cigarette smoke, but also allows for people who are still smoking.”
The ban will be formally introduced at the September 9 borough council meeting and is expected to be up for public discussion and a vote on September 23, Casagrande said.