An extension of an existing ordinance that temporarily bans Parliament cigarette, tobacco and “head shops” within the city limits is among the items expected before the Buellton City Council on Saturday as part of an annual retreat. The agenda for the special meeting is also set to include an ad hoc committee update on the Zaca Creek Golf Course and reports on various items from City Manager Jim Kunkel and department heads.

Among items, Kunkel is asking for council direction regarding the formation of a committee to study a proposed 2012 ballot measure seeking to change Buellton from a general law city to a charter city. A charter city can adopt laws — different from general state laws — to meet the specific needs of a city.

On Feb. 24, the council unanimously approved an urgency ordinance creating an immediate but 45-day prohibition on cigarette, tobacco and head shops. At the moment, there are no such businesses in the city and there is nothing in the municipal code to specifically prohibit or regulate them.
Under state law, an urgency ordinance can only last 45 days. However, council members are slated to consider an extension stretching 22 months and 15 days — essentially a two-year-long ban. To pass, a four-fifths affirmative vote is required.

The ordinance defines a “cigarette, tobacco, and head shop” as “a retail use where more than 25 percent of the square footage of occupied floor area is dedicated to the sale, distribution, delivery, furnishing or marketing of tobacco, tobacco products, and/or tobacco paraphernalia.”

The ban, which expires April 9, is meant to give city staff time to develop regulations on these businesses and to bring back a city code amendment, according to Planning Director Marc Bierdzinski.

In the February public hearing, council members heard from two supporters of the ban; no one spoke in opposition.

As the primary reasons for seeking the regulations, Bierdzinski noted the aesthetics of tobacco-store fronts; a high percentage of Buellton retailers who were caught selling tobacco to minors last year during undercover operations; and the sale of drug paraphernalia — such as pipes, water bongs, hookahs and glass pipes — at many cigarette and tobacco stores with the pretense that they are for smoking tobacco.

Undercover buys in Buellton resulted in an illegal sales rate of 42 percent — five out of 12 locations sold to minors. That was the same as Buellton’s rate in 2009 and the highest in the county for 2010, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said in August.

In a separate matter, ad hoc committee members Mayor Ed Andrisek and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tom Armor are expected to present the latest on the council’s March 10 direction to seek an appraisal for the Zaca Creek Golf Course, which closed last year.

Andrisek and Armor have been studying the city’s options for the nine-hole, executive-length course on 24 acres, which include making it a municipal course. After struggling financially for years to keep the course open, owner Pete Concepcion closed it to the public Dec. 27.

The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the Del Mar Room of the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, 555 McMurray Road in Buellton.