The Burlington City Council rejected the idea of a parks and beaches smoking ban at its meeting on Monday night, voting 8-4 to reject the proposal, though they did leave the possibility to revisit it after a survey of residents on the matter that is scheduled to be conducted next summer.
Seven Days described the debate as a battle between pregnant women and rich yacht owners, as the issue centered around protecting residents from secondhand smoke while ensuring that it didn’t result in an attack on certain groups. Councilor Dave Hartnett called the ban a class issue, and feared that certain people would have to leave the park to smoke while others would be able to smoke on their boats parked just offshore.
Had the ban passed, smoking would have been allowed in parking lots and on sidewalks adjacent to parks, while empowering the city’s parks director to create designated smoking areas within each park.
Burlington is the largest city in Vermont with a population of just over 42,000 residents.