COLTS NECK – The Township Committee has adopted an ordinance that will limit smoking in areas around Colts Neck.
The ordinance was unanimously adopted during the committee’s June 26 meeting following a public hearing.
The new section of the municipal code will prohibit smoking or vaping on or at all municipal properties, including parks and municipal buildings, and in all municipal vehicles.
The ordinance will prohibit smoking in an indoor public place or workplace, except in any tobacco retail establishment or any area of the tobacco retail establishment that provides for the purpose of smoking.
The ordinance will prohibit smoking at public or nonpublic elementary schools and secondary schools, regardless of whether the area is an indoor public place or outdoors. The amended ordinance will also prohibit smoking within 35 feet of the entrance of a public place in Colts Neck.
“No Smoking” signs or the international no smoking symbol will be posted at areas regulated by the ordinance. Violators will be subject to no less than a $250 fine for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third and subsequent offense.
During a discussion of the ordinance, Committeeman Russell Macnow said he wanted to include language that would allow for designated smoking areas.
During the public hearing, Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education member Kevin O’Connor and Sue Fitzpatrick, who is running unopposed for a seat on the Township Committee, spoke in support of the ordinance and the designated smoking areas.
“Speaking as a resident and not as a school board member, I think it’s a good thing and I have no problem with it,” O’Connor said of the ordinance. “I do share the concerns that perhaps there should be a place where people should go, but I personally have no problem with this.”
“I’m not a smoker either, but I agree with (Macnow) about there being a designated area,” Fitzpatrick said. “I understand about trying to keep children from e-cigarettes, but you know what? We all try to keep children from doing something. But now you’re punishing adults who have made the decision to smoke and have the right to do so. So a designated area would solve those problems.”
Municipal officials said designated smoking areas on municipal property would be defined by the township administrator and smoking areas during events would be defined and changed when necessary.