Woodinville parks will be tobacco free, but will that be law or a suggestion? That is the decision council will make at its meeting Tuesday, May 1.
, the council agreed that the city’s parks should be smoke free but were split on whether it should be a suggestion to the public or a law, punishable with fines. The city's Park and Recreation Commission’s recommended that the City not adopt a policy prohibiting tobacco use in parks, largely due to the difficulty of enforcement and their conclusion that this is a non-issue in Woodinville parks.
Currently, only the Sports Field in Woodinville is designated as a tobacco-free area, primarily because of damage that could be caused from lit cigarettes to the artificial turf. There are no receptacles at any city parks for cigarettes.
However, most of the council members agreed at the March 6 meeting that tobacco free parks were desirable, but disagreed on whether it should be law and asked staff to develop two plans, one voluntary to the public, one not.
To qualify for a King County program for free signage alerting the public to a smoking ban, be it by ordinance or voluntary, the city must pass a policy before September, 2012.
Last year, five cities adopted the county’s plan and declared their parks tobacco free, Auburn, Covington, Seattle, Snoqualmie and the Vashon Parks District, which have similar policies. Tobacco policies are enforced mostly by residents themselves, much like with dog leash and alcohol policies, according to the county’s health services website. This is how similar laws have worked in other places, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. People can also contact the individual parks departments, according to the county.
The Woodinville City Council meets on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tuesday of each month in City Hall, Council Chambers at 7 p.m. Council Meetings that fall on holidays are rescheduled to the next working day.