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Smoking ban issue back on the table

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

A potential smoking ban is an issue that just won’t die at the City of Parkville.

The Parkville Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night discussed a new smoking ban ordinance. The proposed ban would include the state of Missouri exempted locations for smoking.

The new proposed ban would also allow smoking in bars, taverns, and restaurants with seating for no more than 50 people. Smoking would also be allowed in membership association buildings with no one under 18 allowed inside and having no paid employees working in the smoking area.

The board discussed the topic in a special work session held before the meeting, but did not take comments from the public. The item was then on the agenda during the regular meeting to possibly be approved, but the board voted to table the issue until the next meeting.

The board’s discussion focused on how the ordinance would affect the American Legion Hall in downtown Parkville.

In order to comply with the proposed ban, the American Legion would not be allowed to have employees in the smoking area. The hall would also have to be renovated if a separate non-smoking area is created.

According to the ordinance, the two areas would need separate heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and there would need to be an air lock between the two areas.

“Entrance to smoking areas shall be through an airlock of sufficient size and design to deter smoking area air to transmit to non-smoking area. Included shall be a ceiling exhaust fan with check valve that will create a negative pressure within the airlock with discharge either to the outside of the building or to the smoking area. Each door shall have an automatic closing device. All doors shall have a flexible gasket seal designed to prevent exfiltration when closed. Nothing in this provision shall relieve the owner or operator of the requirements of the adopted building codes or Americans with Disabilities Act.”

“I don’t know how much renovation they would have to do to comply,” said Jack Campbell, attorney.

“The issue is they pay outside people,” said Deborah Butcher, alderman.

“I don’t presume to know all about how the American Legion operates, but they would have to change the way they operate,” said Richardson.

Marvin Ferguson, aldermen, brought up the issue of the establishments with fewer than 50 person seating and asked if they could raise that number.

Sean Ackerson said there are four restaurants in Parkville that allow smoking: Café Cedar has seating for 150, the American Legion has seating for 125, Rancho Grande has seating for 200 and Nick and Jake’s has seating for 230.

Later, Richardson said he was trying to put together an ordinance that could pass.

“I am trying to put together the best ordinance that I thought would pass and be legally viable,” said Richardson. “I’m not sure we’ll ever get to unanimous on this, but I’d rather it be more than 5-4, if we can get there.”

If the eight-member board of aldermen ties in a vote on an issue then the mayor has the tie breaking vote. That would account for the theoretical 5-4 vote Richardson mentioned.

Richardson also said he didn’t think the board needed to host another public forum on the issue.

“It is not my opinion that another public meeting would be useful,” said Richardson. “We know where the public opinion is, the public is all over the place. I don’t think another public meeting would get us closer to agreement.”

Gia McFarlane, alderman, said the ordinance was very complicated and asked that the board allow the public to view a copy of the ordinance for two weeks after a new version is written, before the board votes on the ordinance.

The board’s next meeting is on Tuesday, Feb. 17, with the regular session to begin at 7 p.m.


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