Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Allen County Smoking Ban

I think EVERYONE should read the proposed Allen County Smoking Ban:

http://www.co.allen.in.us/images/stories/commissioners/draft%20smoking%20ordinance.pdf

Scott Greider correctly points out that there is an exemption for "Private residences" in the ordinance; but, what does this exception really mean?

I spent an hour this morning trying to find out what it means. I talked to County officials in Zoning, Planning, and the Commissioners office. Interestingly enough, they do not know what it means either. We could not find the term "Private Residence" in the Allen County Code and it is not defined in the ordinance. After my calls they are supposed to "look into it."

This is where it gets tricky, how will they define "Private Residence?"

In my opinion some home owners who run small business will be allowed to smoke in their homes and others will not...

If you have a business in your home and you have had to get your home REZONED then guess what, your home is NOT a private residence. There are quite a few home owners and small business owners that this will apply to! As soon as you have your house REZONED it is not a "private residence" anymore in my opinion...

You can also get a "Use variance." I am not sure how this would be handled...

For example: One of my neighbors put a SMALL photo developing shop in his basement. He had to get his home rezoned to allow him to run that business in his home. This was a time consuming process that cost him some money. His house was rezoned commercial a few years ago. If the Allen County Smoking Ban as proposed is passed, I do not think he can smoke in his house at all because I do not think his house will be considered a "Private Residence." In fact, after re-reading the ordinance, he will not be able to allowed to smoke ANYWHERE in his house since his entire house was rezoned commercial!

There are some other things I noticed:

1. Lets say you have a business in your home and your home has NOT been rezoned. By the ordinance as I read it people can smoke in your home office due to the exception that Scott pointed out; however, per 10-8-4 you will be required to post on the main entrance of your house the following sign "Warning: This is a smoking establishment" if you plan on smoking or allowing smoking in your own house.

This is 100% absurd. You are telling thousands of local home owners that they have to post a sign on the front door of their house. Let me give you a couple of examples:

Lets say you are a Realtor. There are HUNDREDS of Realtors in Allen County. Lets say you have a home office. You will have to post a sign on the front door of your house saying that "Warning: This is a smoking establishment" if you allow smoking in your own house...

Wow.

Amazing...

Who is still for this Smoking Ordinance as written?

Mike Sylvester

10 comments:

Jeff Pruitt said...

If you have customers and/or employees who do not live in the house or are not immediate family then you should NOT receive an exemption.

Anonymous said...

The people that are for this insane smoking ban are the people that know (better than YOU) how to run YOUR life. They are an ornery lot, and almost totally useless "do-gooders". The problem is that they have somehow infiltrated our governments, and desire to remake the world in their preferred image.

This country was founded on extreme prejudice towards property rights, as well as tar-and-feathering people who stuck their nose into other people's private (property) business.

PEOPLE- have some respect for other people, and their choices- whether good or bad. Remember who these elected "do-gooders" are and vote the rascals out. Each time. And every time.

AND VOTE LIBERTARIAN...

Tim Zank said...

This particular issue really brings out the libertarian streak in me. The very idea that I could spend half of my life or more buying and building a business only to have the state step in and tell me I can't engage in a perfectly LEGAL activity with a perfectly LEGAL product on my own freakin' property is mind numbing.

Absolutley NO ONE is forced to do business with anyone else. If your customers don't like the smoke they will tell you and YOU can decide if you want to oblige them or not.

I hate to invoke that old "slippery slope" argument, but if ever it was applicable, this is it.

Jeff, you don't want anyone listening to phone calls but your ok with this??????

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Tim Zank:

This is entirely driven by The Republican Party...

Does it make you proud to be a Republican Tim Zank?

Mike Sylvester

Tim Zank said...

No it does NOT!

Andrew Kaduk said...

The GOP is definitely morphing into the party of "Do as I say..." which the Democrats have always had monopolized. I realized a long time ago that the GOP was calling plays from the Donkey playbook, and as a result, I was deeply insulted. Now both name-brand political parties in the US are treating me (and you) like we are a bunch of special-needs children. I'm pretty sure I'm still capable of making decisions for myself, but I'll be damned if I can remember the last time I had to decide something more important than "would you like to upsize that?"

Jeff Pruitt said...

All laws are based upon the government making a decision for you. The government decides what you can and cannot do. All businesses are also bound by the regulations imposed by the state and/or municipality. People are free to voice their opinions and if they don't like how their legislators perform then they can eject them from office.

That's the difference between this and warrantless wiretapping. Here we are creating law and in the other case the president skirted around it. I really don't want to hijack this into a warrantless wiretapping debate so that's all I'll say about that for now.

I would have absolutely no problem with the smoking ban. I believe forcing employees to choose between their health and their job is wrong. I also believe that any place open to the public should be safe for all visitors. This is simply the cost of doing business. I would turn the current argument around and say that if you don't like our smoking ban then you can choose not to operate a business in our county.

This will improve public health. It will not hurt business. That is good policy IMO. I enjoy visiting California because of the smoking ban - the difference is incredible. I don't think it's unreasonable for smokers to refrain from lighting up for an hour or so while at dinner.

Alas, I realize that my position is an unpopular one on this blog. That's ok; I don't expect to change anyone's mind. However, I do believe smokers' "rights" have been constantly diminishing in this country for quite some time and I believe their demise is truly inevitable...

Tim Zank said...

So Jeff, for you it's a health and safety issue. It's perfectly acceptable to you to trample the rights of all business/property owners to protect the health and welfare of the American people.

It logically follows then, you would also be in favor of warrantless wiretapping as well. It's a health and safety issue as well, whereby the government is protecting it's citizens, no?

That's the major flaw with "progressive" logic, you think it you can have it both ways because you know what's best for all of us.

You can't have it both ways and maintain any credibility.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Tim,

I don't see ANY link between the two whatsoever. I pointed out the fundamental difference in my original post and I stand by that statement.

Anonymous said...

I think you should not be able to smoke in a restaurant that we take our children.This is ok with me.Any way the city should have said thier will be so many smoking bars and a certain amount of non smoking bars.Also the businesses that our losing monies should get a tax break the ones that a making more should pay more taxes.The businesses that are losing monies and that are closing is only gonna leave the city less monies.Also where are the jobs i work in arizona to support my family and where are the jobs here! Fort wayne is gonna be a ghost city really soon.I am 35 and with all of the forts craziness i am moving my faily to az. Born in FORT WAYNE AND RAISED BUT NOT RAISING MY FAMILY HERE!