MOUNT VERNON — Although Mount Vernon City Council heard a second reading on legislation that would ban vaping in public places and the sale of vaping items to those 18 to 21, the ordinance is expected be postponed and reworked to limit its focus to place smoking and vaping on equal footing.

Council members Chris Menapace and Sam Barone questioned the necessity to prohibit the sales of vaping products to “young adults” ages 18 to 21, as defined in the legislation, with Barone stating it was an “overreach on our part.”

“I don’t see the logic of regulating e-cigarettes more than cigarettes,” Barone said. “… Do we have parallel legislation to restrict access to cigarettes?”

“Why make this more restrictive than the sale of a known carcinogen,” Menapace asked.

Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Nancy Vail introduced the legislation stating there would be division in public perception of the legislation.

“This will have a positive effect on some people and a negative effect on others,” Vail said.

Vail explained a driving force behind the legislation was her own inability to remain in a public space after being exposed to a “big plume of smoke” from vaping.

Council agreed to ask Law Director Rob Broeren to rewrite the legislation keeping the focus on maintaining equal application of public smoking rules to cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping.

Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller told council she could not comment on the legislation as she had not reviewed it. However, she explained the health department’s position stating “we don’t endorse nicotine products.” She questioned who would enforce a ban on smoking or the sale of vaping products should the legislation pass as written. The state of Ohio, she said, is responsible for investigating complaints of smoking in public spaces.

The health department, Miller said, is expected to unveil a program encouraging Knox County municipalities to change the laws on sales of cigarettes to those 21 and over.

A public hearing on vaping legislation will be scheduled at a later date.

Legislation

Council heard a first reading on an ordinance that would vacate a portion of Ridgley Street and two partial alleys in the area across South Division Street near the Mount Vernon High School baseball fields. Lifepoint Church is requesting the vacations to move forward with a planned church. A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26, at 7:05 p.m. At-large representative Matt Starr, who attends Lifepoint Church, refrained from discussions and will abstain from any vote.

A first reading was also given to legislation that will require permits for those placing small cell towers on utility poles in the city.

Council approved:

•The trade in of a used tractor valued at $8,025 bringing the cost of a new tractor to $7,495, according to Mayor Richard Mavis.

•Payment for electric cable at Memorial Park and vegetation growth control as then and now encumbrances.

•Eight fund transfers, mostly involving the cemetery funds.

•Contracts for water meter equipment and services totaling over $187,000.

•The sale of a police cruiser by sealed bid. Mavis said the cruiser was damaged by a drunk driver and insurance paid the value of the vehicle. Any funds collected in the sale of the cruiser would be turned over to the insurance company.

Naming parks

The Recreation Board submitted a draft of the proposed application to name a park, ball field or park structure after “a citizen who has exemplified service and dedication to the community.”

The application requires a biography of the nominee, reasons why they are nominated and 25 signatures of supporters. The Recreation Board will review the applications and give a recommendation to City Council, according to board president Jerry Clinger.

If approved, the designation will be valid for 20 years. At that time, the application process will start over for naming capabilities.

Clinger explained current and previous honorees would be listed at the area.

Council adopted the legislation setting the naming rules after voting to suspend the three readings rule.

CVS liquor permit hearing

A public hearing has been established by the Ohio Division of Liquor Control following a complaint received regarding the permit request by CVS to sell alcohol at the Coshocton Avenue store. Those interested in speaking about the permit request are encouraged to attend the meeting Nov. 1, at 9:30 a.m., at Council Chambers, 40 Public Square, Mount Vernon.

 

Samantha Scoles: 740-397-5333 or samantha.scoles@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

 

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