When Arcata, Calif. expanded its smoke-free zone in May it hoped to address the issue of residents congregating at the edge of the smoke-free zone to smoke in public. What the City Council did not expect is that it would simply push the loitering further into residential areas, which of course is exactly what happened.
Now, the city is debating whether to reduce the smoke-free zone or expand it to help address complaints from residents who now say individuals are congregating at the edge of the boundary.
It’s unclear why the city believes that widening the smoke-free zone will solve the problem, but according to the Times-Standard, Vice Mayor Michael Winkler has indicated that there is a consensus to expand it in at least one direction.
Members of the City Council noted that it is legal to have open containers in Arcata with the exception of the downtown area. Alcohol consumption has been listed as one of the activities residents have complained about. It’s unclear whether a modification to that law will be part of the proposed smoking ban extension.
The city of Arcata is located in Humboldt County in northern California and is home to approximately 17,000 residents, as well as the site of Humboldt State University.