Secondhand smoke survey online until Jan. 31

Morgan Hill

Based on public comment at last Tuesday’s Parks and Recreation Committee, the city of Morgan Hill will continue to ask for public feedback regarding the impending smoke free ordinance, which will be presented to the City Council at the Feb. 15 meeting.

For the last three months, a subcommittee of Morgan Hill’s PRC has been collecting public opinion regarding a smoke-free parks and outdoor public places ordinance. Based on the input received from the public, this ordinance may possibly prohibit smoking in outdoor restaurant areas, at community events and festivals, at city-owned recreation areas, and at entryways of private buildings.

Based on public comment over the last three months, the main components of the proposed second-hand smoke ordinance recommended by city staff will include:

-Smoking will be prohibited in all outdoor commercial dining areas, including restaurants and bars, except for private events on private property

-Smoking will be prohibited within 20 feet of all entryways, doors, windows, and other openings into enclosed areas with the exception of passersby.

-Smoking will be prohibited at public events in the public right-of-way, with the exception of designated smoking areas.

-Smoking will be prohibited at all city-owned parks, recreation centers and trails. This includes the exterior grounds of the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, Centennial Recreation Center, Aquatics Center, and Outdoor Sports Center. It also includes all public parks in Morgan Hill.

-Smoking will be prohibited in service areas such as bus stops, ATM lines, and ticket lines.

“One critique we’ve received at Tuesday’s PRC meeting was regarding the public comment portion of preparing this ordinance,” PRC member Marty Cheek said. “We heard that there has not been enough public notice about the ordinance as well notification of the Survey Monkey online survey we conducted to gather public opinion. Our online survey was originally closed on December 9 but we re-opened it for public comment and will keep it open until January 31 so that city staff will have time to include additional results and comments into their report.”

The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/MorganHillSmokeFree

The PRC subcommittee hopes to continue receiving input from the community, especially members of the Morgan Hill business community who might be impacted by the ordinance, Cheek said. Besides taking the survey, he recommended that interested citizens e-mail their comments to [email protected]  or mail them care of Steve Rymer at City of Morgan Hill, 17575 Peak Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA 95037-4128. They should do this before the ordinance goes to council on Feb. 15 so that their thoughts can best be shared with council members.

“I want to encourage all community members who will be impacted by this ordinance to share their opinions and thoughts to make this ordinance one that provides the greatest benefit to everyone in Morgan Hill,” Cheek said. “It’s important that a diversity of views is shared so that the city council can have make a decision that is in the best interest of Morgan Hill.”

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