By Emily Rasmussen
San Juan Capistrano City Council directed its city staff to look at banning smoking in public parks on May 1.
The direction came after Councilmember Kerry Ferguson brought a proposed direction of city staff to look into banning smoking in public spaces. Ferguson’s proposal asked city staff to research the effects of second-hand smoke outside, no-smoking ordinances in other cities, ways to survey San Juan Capistrano residents on whether they would support a smoking ban in public places, and to have the issue brought back to City Council by July 17, 2018.
Councilmember Derek Reeve said he did not support doing a survey on whether residents support banning smoking in public spaces, and that city resources should be allocated to more “pressing” issues.
“I can tell you 70 percent of San Juan roughly is going to support banning smoking. That’s just very consistent in Southern California, it’s a waste of time and resources (to do a survey),” Reeve said.
Then, Reeve added, that “public spaces” is too vague.
“When you start including any public space, you’re getting into a very vague issue and it’s going to slip into a lot of areas of privacy that I just don’t want to go into,” Reeve said. “(Banning smoking) in parks makes sense.”
Councilmember Pam Patterson made a motion to direct city staff to look at the ordinances in Dana Point and Laguna Beach, to look into enforcing a smoking ban and to bring back a staff recommendation. The motion failed 3-2, with Ferguson and Patterson in favor.
Reeve made a motion for city staff to bring back an ordinance or an amendment to the current ordinance for a ban on smoking at public parks. Reeve’s motion passed 4-1, with Councilmember Brian Maryott opposed.