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Smoking ban considered for parks, playgrounds

Smoking soon might be banned in East Aurora's parks and playgrounds.

Village officials are considering a no-smoking policy for those outdoor areas while updating their employee handbook, banning smoking in all village buildings.

Designated outdoor smoking areas on village property would be allowed only outside of Village Hall, the fire station, Fireman's Field and the Public Works Department.

The proposed amendments would tweak the section pertaining to smoking restrictions in the village's employee handbook adopted in 2004.

"I think we need it," Village Administrator Bryan Gazda told the board during its work session Monday.

The board plans to vote on the policy change at its Aug. 15 meeting.

Not all were initially convinced it was necessary.

"I haven't seen anyone smoking at the park this summer," Trustee Kevin Biggs said of his weekend visits to Hamlin Park.

Trustee Patrick Shea, who lives near the park, disagreed, while Gazda said he recently had observed a man smoking at the town's Community Pool off South Street.

"It would be no different than going into a bar [where smoking is not allowed]," Gazda said.

If the measure is approved, Gazda estimated that installing signs in the village's parks and nature sanctuaries would cost $1,000.

The town recreation staff, he said, could help with enforcement by reminding the public of the no-smoking policy.

The policy draft notes that smokers would be asked to voluntarily refrain from smoking.

If they do not comply, they would be escorted from the area and subject to civil penalties under the state's Clean Indoor Air Act of 2004.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com