Alabaster holding second hearing on proposed smoking ban

Published 10:58 pm Thursday, September 2, 2010

Alabaster officials will hold a second public hearing Oct. 21 on a proposed smoking ban at public places throughout the city, and could vote on the matter the same night.

The announcement came during a Sept. 2 Alabaster City Council meeting, during which the council scheduled the public hearing for 7 p.m. at the City Hall Annex building off U.S. 31 behind City Hall.

“We just want one more public hearing before we vote on this ordinance,” said Ward 1 Councilwoman Sophie Martin.

“There’s a possibility we could vote on it that night,” said Ward 3 Councilman Adam Moseley.

During the hearing, the council will seek public input on a proposed ban on smoking in public places like restaurants and bars. The council held a similar public hearing on the matter in July, and is looking to get more public opinion on the ban before voting on it, Martin said.

City officials have been considering the smoking ban for several years, but have recently revisited it as the city has experienced rapid population and business growth over the past few years.

Currently, Alabaster bans smoking only in city buildings.

Alabaster leaders have been studying smoking bans in similar cities, like Hoover and Prattville, over the past several months, which could serve as blueprints if a ban is enacted in Alabaster.

Hoover’s ordinance bans smoking in most public buildings in the city, in the seating area of outdoor arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums, and within 10 feet of entrances and exits of establishments where smoking is prohibited.

But Hoover’s ordinance allows smoking in many areas, like designated smoking hotel rooms, some bars and private clubs

Prattville’s ordinance allows the city’s food and beverage establishments to declare themselves “smoking” or “non-smoking,” which determines if smoking will be allowed in the buildings.

Prattville’s “non-smoking” establishments can offer a “smoking” section if the section is isolated from the rest of the restaurant.

During Alabaster’s July public hearing on the matter, public opinion seemed to be split on the ban.

Of the 17 people who spoke, eight speakers said they would support a smoking ban at public places throughout the city, and nine said they opposed any form of city regulation on smoking in restaurants and bars.