An ordinance to prohibit smoking in Danville's recreational areas was discussed again at Tuesday's Town Council meeting. Despite some debate about smoker's rights, the council voted unanimously to continue the discussion on Sept. 20.
The expanded ordinance, presented by the Parks and Leisure Services Commission, would ban smoking in all of Danville's recreational facilities by posting signs, providing education and fining offenders up to $100. Currently, smoking is banned within 25 feet of tot lots and playgrounds.
"All patrons (should) enjoy fitness activities without being affected negatively," said Recreation Services Manager Michelle Lacy.
Before the council could come to a conclusion about the ordinance, several members spoke of a partial ban that would allow smoking in designated, rented areas.
Councilmember Robert Storer pointed out that by banning smoking altogether, the public's rights are reduced when they utilize the recreational areas. Storer cited alcoholic beverage rules in parks and questioned whether the town had a right to prohibit cigarette smoke in a rented facility but not liquor.
"I think what we're looking at here is a rights issue. We should at least have the discussion about folks who want the right to smoke a cigar or cigarette in a private, rented area," he said.
Several councilmembers dissented and said that a partial ban would be nearly impossible to enforce.
"Smoke doesn't stay within a container," Vice Mayor Candace Andersen stated.
Seventeen-year-old Danville resident Ryan Levenson said he hoped the ban would be implemented because he believes that the secondhand smoke makes parks less pleasurable.
"It's not something we want as kids in our parks," he said. "When I was younger I used to play Mustang Soccer. (Smoking) made it less pleasurable and it effected me playing."
Although the 194 acres of Danville's parks will allow smoking for now, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said that the town is currently in compliance with all state smoking laws. If the ban is adopted at the council's next meeting, it will take effect 30 days later on Oct. 20.