China Grove considers expanding smoking ban
CHINA GROVE — While you can’t smoke in town-owned buildings if you are a China Grove town employee, the board is considering expanding that policy so no one will be allowed to smoke on all town-owned property, including parks.
This proposed policy was discussed at length during Tuesday’s town board meeting, but no action was taken. The board tabled the decision, saying it may be hard to enforce the ordinance in town parks and some other sites like the little league fields.
Employees are regulated under the town’s personnel policy, which mirrors a state law that authorizes local governments to adopt and enforce ordinances prohibiting smoking in certain places of employment.
The proposed ordinance includes all tobacco products that would be smoked in a cigarette, cigar, pipe or other smoking device. Those tobacco products would not be allowed in town buildings, vehicles, park grounds and any property owned or operated by the town of China Grove. Anyone who violated the ordinance would be subject to a $50 fine.
Chief Eddie Kluttz told the board inside the buildings wouldn’t be an issue, but the biggest problem would be the ball fields. Councilman Steve Stroud told the board he felt it was an ordinance the town would never be able to enforce. He said he’d never had anyone complain to him about it. Mayor Don Bringle also said he felt the ordinance was “confrontational” and would be difficult to enforce. Councilman Lee Withers suggested a designated smoking area, and Councilman Charles Seaford agreed.
The board also:
• Approved an ordinance that would prohibit registered sex offenders in town parks and town recreation centers. According to information provided in the ordinance and based on N.C. Department of Justice Sex Offender Registry, there are about 300 registered sex offenders in Rowan County. The town’s intent is to reduce the opportunity for sexual predators to use public spaces for criminal intent. The ordinance says registered sex offenders will not be allowed into or on park, playgrounds, greenway, nature preserves and recreation centers owned by the town or will face a $500 fine if the ordinance is violated.
There are exceptions to this ordinance including if those parks or recreation centers are used as a polling place during an election or in attendance at an official meeting. Signs will be erected at the entrance of parks and recreation facilities.
• Considered a request to erect signs at intersections for low-speed vehicles.
If the board agreed, the town would need five or six signs, hardware and poles that would cost more than $2,000. There are currently 19 registered golf carts that generate about $190 for renewal permits annually. The board tabled the request and said there wasn’t enough income generated to purchase signs.
Chief Kluttz told the board he didn’t think it was a safety issue. Town Attorney Tom Brooke said signs were not necessary as there was not much of a liability issue.
• Planned to celebrate the town’s 125th anniversary on March 8 at 2:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.
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