The City of Ithaca Common Council voted unanimously Wednesday to expand the non-smoking area on The Commons again, this time to include the streets west of The Commons. The smoke-free area will extend along State Street to Geneva Street, and north and south along Cayuga Street between Seneca and Green streets.
The ban was first enacted in April 2010. The latest addition to the smoke-free area follows a previous extension of the original non-smoking area, which encompassed the inner areas of The Commons. The first addition extended the non-smoking area throughout The Commons and was enacted in October 2010.
Common Council member Jennifer Dotson, I-1st, introduced the resolution Wednesday, saying, “Since the amended ordinance went into effect, there has been an appreciable increase in the number of active Winston smokers on the western end of The Commons.”
Business owners along Cayuga Street have complained about smokers blocking their entrances or loitering in front of their buildings, council members said.
Council member Joel Zumoff, D-3rd, said he thinks another extension of the area is impractical, but that he would support the resolution.
“What will happen is the boundaries will get expanded and the people on the edges of the new boundary will complain,” he said.
Eric Rosario, I-2nd, suggested establishing a designated smoking area, rather than excluding smoking, which seems to create clusters of smokers along the edges.
“I would offer that — not as a part of this, but in spirit, a companion piece — that we consider that as a solution to this,” Rosario said.
He suggested a place near the Green Street parking garage at the end of Home Dairy Alley, saying it has become a popular smoking spot already.
Another suggestion was to make the smoke-free zone effective for only part of the day. Dan Cogan, D-5th, argued against the suggestion because he thought it would raise the issue of people pushing the time limits by lighting up earlier and earlier, creating an enforcement problem.
Wednesday, the council also postponed a re-vote on a zoning ordinance contained in the 2009 Collegetown Plan.
The ordinance was one of four that were in question after a protest was filed by several property owners in Collegetown. Ordinances to which the protest applied would require 75 percent of the votes on the council to pass. The first ordinance, to establish form-based zoning districts, came up short, though the others passed.
The ordinance was scheduled to go before the council again Wednesday, but was removed from the agenda. A public hearing on the ordinance went forward, with some residents speaking in favor of form-based zoning and some speaking against the plan, which would allow development to move forward in the area.
The council also approved a resolution requesting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo rescind the Secure Communities agreement, and authorized a license to use city parkland for the Congo Square Market