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Ann Arbor to consider limit on outdoor smoking

nick see
A proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking at bus stops and city parks

It may soon become more difficult to smoke outdoors in Ann Arbor.

A proposed city ordinance would prohibit smoking at bus stops and parks designated by the city administrator.

It would also prohibit smoking near the entrances, windows and ventilation systems of city-owned buildings, which is already banned by a Washtenaw County ordinance.

The ordinance, introduced by council member Chuck Warpehoski, D-5th Ward, is on the agenda for Monday night's city council meeting.

Warpehoski is confident the ordinance will pass. But he said he will ask for a delay to give him time to consult with the city's Park Advisory Commission and local businesses that would be affected by the new law.

Though he said the ordinance is fairly restricted in scope, he cited the positive health impact it would  have on city residents.

"We should have clean air," he said. "We shouldn't have people smoking in our playgrounds. We shouldn't have people waiting for the bus being forced to breathe toxic air. So I think people will recognize that this kind of limited public health intervention is good for the community."

He added that the idea came from citizen complaints about air quality.

"I'd had complaints from people standing at the bus stop, breathing the polluted air, breathing smoke-filled air, saying, 'Can you do something about this? I want to take the bus because it's healthy for the environment. I also want it to be healthy for me,' " he said.

Violators of the new law could receive fines up to $50.

Jacob Axelrad, Michigan Radio Newsroom