Handicap ramps off limits to smokers says proposed ordinance

Smokers in Bethel often utilize the handicap access ramps on public buildings as a convenient spot to smoke, forcing individuals with a need for the ramp to have to inhale second-hand smoke.
Now an ordinance is up for public hearing at the next City of Bethel council meeting that would make smoking within 50 feet of a handicap ramp illegal.
Handicap ramps are utilized not just by individuals in wheelchairs, they are also utilized by elderly individuals with mobility issues, families with strollers, and other individuals whose mobility is compromised, states proposed Ordinance 18-19.
The ordinance, sponsored by Vice Mayor Fred Watson, passed introduction unanimously during the August 28th, 2018 regular city council meeting.
“Individuals utilizing handicap ramps should have the same protections as individuals who utilize stairs to enter a building,” says Ord. 18-19. “…the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke are well recognized and publicized, as a result, citizens expect that smoking in public places will be prohibited.”
If the ordinance is passed, the Bethel Municipal Code will be amended so that no person may smoke outside within 50 feet (currently 25 feet) of any entrance, open window, or ventilation system intake of any building area within which smoking is prohibited. And no person may smoke outside within 50 feet of any public handicap access ramp.
Owners, operators, managers or other persons having control of an area that has a public handicap access ramp shall also be required to conspicuously post at least one visible sign from the ramp stating that smoking is prohibited, if the ordinance is adopted.
The intended penalty for violation of Ord 18-19 would be $75 per each separate infraction upon passage.

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