Citing adverse health effects and noting that other jurisdictions are taking such actions, Chesapeake Beach town officials have introduced an ordinance that would ban smoking on public property. The measure was introduced at the Chesapeake Beach Town Council’s December meeting. The ordinance would amend the town’s chapter on “Parks and Public Areas” to prohibit smoking on “specified town property and to provide a sanction for a violation,” states a synopsis of the proposed action.
“That does include vaping,” said Mayor Pat “Irish” Mahoney during the ordinance introduction. Mahoney said a public hearing would be held on the proposed measure prior to the council’s Jan. 16 meeting.
According to a draft of the ordinance, the proposed locations for the smoking ban are Bayfront Park, Kellams complex — including the field, playground and all parking areas — public boat ramps, Chesapeake Beach Water Park, Veterans Park, Chesapeake Beach Boardwalk, town hall and pocket parks throughout town.
The proposed ordinance mandates that a violation be deemed a “municipal infraction punishable by a fine of $50.” The measure does state that the ban would not impact individuals inside a vehicle parked in a parking lot “provided that the doors and windows of the vehicle are completely closed.”
The proposed ordinance further states that violators of the smoking ban “shall be subject to ejection from the town property on which such violation has occurred.” A person who has committed three or more violations may be banned by the mayor from the town property or properties for a period of one year.
“The health effects of second and third-hand smoking and vaping have been well documented resulting in a growing number of state and local governments taking steps to regulate their use to protect the health of the public,” Chesapeake Beach Town Administrator Holly Wahl stated in a Dec. 13 memo to the mayor and town council. Wahl noted both the Calvert County government and the nearby town of North Beach have also enacted ordinances banning smoking on public properties.
Ethics ordinance tabled by council
At the mayor’s recommendation, the council tabled an ordinance that would repeal the town’s current ethics guideline for elected and appointed officials.
Mahoney explained that “the chair of the ethics board found numerous editorial changes” during a review of the draft proposal in November. The proposed changes will be discussed during the council’s January work session.
A revised ordinance will be presented to the public later.