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Town of Niagara opts to ban smoking in recreation areas

TOWN OF NIAGARA – A local law to make town recreation areas tobacco- and smoke-free has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 21.

The Town Board agreed Tuesday to add code sections to the books that would prohibit all tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, at all playgrounds, playing fields and all other recreational facilities and to comply with similar state laws.

The town law would mirror state law, which prohibits smoking all day at all recreational sites where anyone under the age of 12 is present.

The law, which was recommended by Supervisor Lee Wallace, who is the former town recreation director, has been discussed by the councilmen this month. Councilman Danny Sklarski, who used to serve on the Niagara County Board of Health, said the subject of tobacco bans was once “a very difficult issue” but is now an easy call by the Town Board. He said the board deserves credit for being the 30th municipality in the Niagara and Erie counties area to propose the law.

The board has been commended by Roswell Park Cancer Institute for promoting the move and has been given warning signs by the hospital to post in recreational area.

Wallace said the details of the law, such as fine amounts, would be outlined at the next meeting by Michael Risman, town attorney.

In another action, the board passed a resolution that ended review of the Belden Center project as part of the State Environmental Quality Review Act because the work does not constitute changes to the infrastructure.

Wallace said the legal determination has been that the work, which includes significant improvements to drainage, sanitary sewer and road repairs in the area, is “considered standard maintenance” and requires no further review. The recommendation came from the town engineering firm, Clark Patterson Lee.

In a related move, the board approved spending $119,200 in highway funds to repair and pave some streets in the area, including Petroleum, Lincoln and St. Paul streets.

The board also called for a public hearing on a local law related to licensing and regulating secondhand dealers and scrap processors, but no date was set.