The Rehoboth, Del. Beach Commissioners approved a smoking ban that will cover the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk and Bandstand area as well as city parks, while creating designated smoking areas on the beach proper. The move came at a special meeting today and the ordinance will go into effect on May 15.
The ordinance has been in the works since Sept. 2013 when a resident began circulating a petition seeking the ban. In February, the proposal was sent back to the drawing board for a revision as Mayor Sam Cooper said he was finding too many loopholes with the proposal and couldn’t see its feasibility.
To provide some relief for those who choose to smoke, there will be a maximum of 20 smoking areas on the beach during the summer months, with a minimum distance of 40 feet from entrances to businesses and other establishments. They will be marked by a sign and trash receptacle, with a semi-circle marked out that will be within a 12-foot radius of the sign.
In off-peak months, currently designated as Oct. 1 – April 30, the number of smoking areas will be reduced to four.
Commissioner Stan Mills, who led the drafting of the ordinance, told DelmarvaNow.com that the ban was proposed to reduce litter, pollution and health risks. E-cigarettes are not being included in the ban, with Cooper saying that they don’t generate litter or smoke and as such don’t fall under the intent of the ordinance.
Violators will be subject to a $25 fine, though the city’s police department is expected to ask smokers to voluntarily comply with the rule before issuing citations.
Rehoboth Beach is home to 1,300 year-round residents but attracts upwards of 25,000 visitors in the summer months.