Tonight, the Owensboro City Commission is scheduled to decide on how to enact a new smoking ban, one that has been on the public’s radar since at least July and that was supposed to be decided last month.
The biggest amendment to the ordinance would allow bars currently in operation to continue to allow patrons to smoke, while bars that open after the ordinance is passed would have to be smoke free. City Commissioner Jeffrey Sanford told WKYU-FM that he acknowledges that the compromise is unfair, but feels that it will minimize the impact to existing businesses.
All other portions of the proposed ordinance remain unchanged, meaning that should it pass, smoking would be banned in all public places and all city-owned properties, meaning it would impact city parks and private outdoor dining areas as some of the more notable examples. Fines for violations of the ordinance start at $100 before escalating to $250 for each subsequent offense within one year. If passed, the ordinance could go into effect as soon as October 15.
The full text of the ordinance as presented at the commission’s Aug. 18 meeting can be found here, though it does not contain the amendments that will be considered tonight.
Owensboro is home to just over 58,000 residents.