The Boulder City Council's expected vote Tuesday to ban smoking on the Pearl Street Mall could be the first step toward prohibiting smoking in many outdoor areas.
The City Council already gave initial approval to the smoking ban -- which will apply to the four-block pedestrian mall and the lawn of the Boulder County Courthouse -- in October.
The ordinance is scheduled for a second reading and a public hearing Tuesday. If there are no substantive changes, the City Council vote will be final.
Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum said the council has heard almost no opposition to the proposed ban, which is supported by the downtown business community.
"The time has certainly come to do this," he said.
Appelbaum said he would like the city to look at expanding the smoking ban to parks, bike paths and other areas where people congregate.
Other council members have expressed support for that idea, but it's not clear yet if they form a majority. Any expansion of the outdoor smoking ban would go through a separate public process.
The vote on the first reading of the Pearl Street Mall smoking ban was 8-0, with Councilman Macon Cowles absent.
Councilwoman K.C. Becker had expressed some concerns that the proposed fine -- up to $1,000 on a first offense -- was too high, and city officials now say they support a reduced penalty for the first and second offense.
The ordinance as proposed calls for a fine of up to $500 for the first and second offense within a two-year period. If someone is ticketed for a third offense within a two-year period, he or she could face a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 90 days in jail. However, judges would still have discretion.
Other smoking offenses in the city carry $500 fines, while most offenses on the Pearl Street Mall carry the higher penalties.
Becker said she still has some concerns that the fines are disproportionate to the offense, but she supports banning smoking on the Pearl Street Mall and in other public, outdoor areas.
The University of Colorado may make its campus smoke-free as well over the next several years. The student government has passed a resolution supporting making the campus tobacco-free, and the Chancellor's Executive Committee is expected to take up the matter this week, as well.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or email@example.com.
If you go
What: Boulder City Council meeting
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway
More info: There will be a public hearing on the proposed smoking ban on the Pearl Street Mall. To see the full agenda, go to tinyurl.com/crqwbtk. ___
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