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Alpharetta Takes First Vote to Ban Tobacco From its Parks

After a second reading, no form of tobacco use would be allowed in the city's parks and recreation facilities.

All forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco will be banned from Alpharetta parks and recreation facilities once the City Council takes one more vote on an amendment to its ordinances.

The City Council passed the first reading of the ordinance at its meeting Monday night, March 7.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Perry said for the past 8 to 10 years, his department has had signs erected around city athletic fields and playgrounds, asking for a 25-foot non-smoking barrier area. But in examining existing ordinances, staff determined its actions needed to be formalized. That was taken to the Recreation Commission.

"That has led us to where we are today," Perry said.

A first suggestion by the Recreation Commission to adopt the 25 feet as city policy was sent back by City Council for a recommendation on a full ban on tobacco products.

Councilman Chris Owens said he heard opposing views from residents about a tobacco ban. One resident told him the city shouldn't pass more rules on what people could do outside. The other resident is a participant in equestrian events at Wills Park with daughters.

"They've had a problem with it for two years now. They feel awkward talking to the person smoking," he said.

Owens said the person in question is a volunteer instructor who lights up in front of the students inside a barn at the city's Equestrian Center in Wills Park. He got a call thanking him for the city taking up the issue.

"I can see both sides of the issue," Owens said.

He voted for the tobacco ban along with the other four members of City Council who participated in the meeting with Mayor Arthur Letchas.

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