A smoking ban around recreational fields split the council at the Sept. 21 meeting. Councilwoman Elaine Vuoncino said the proposed ordinance was too restrictive on the rights of residents.
“I’m a non-smoker,” Vuoncino said. “I hate smoke. I just feel it’s a huge infringement on the rights of people.”
Under the proposed ordinance, the borough will prohibit the smoking of cigars, cigarettes, pipes, electronic cigarettes and other similar devices on various municipal sites with “smoke-free zone” signs with a likely penalty not to exceed $50 per the judge’s discretion.
Councilman Donna Puglisi, the ordinance’s main supporter and a former smoker, said the bleachers and the ball fields would be off-limits under the law and smokers would only be able to light up on the path or the parking lot.
“I don’t think you should be smoking around kids,” Puglisi said.
Vuoncino, also a former smoker, took issue with the constraint on citizens’ rights.
“I’m just wondering if it’s going to get too restrictive in the future,” Vuoncino said.
Mayor Randy George indicated he wanted to moderate the two opposing points of view.
“I want to start out slow with this,” George said. “I don’t want to do the whole field. I want to do around the ball fields and the bleachers.”
He later added, “I don’t think it’s very restrictive. If we listened to Donna, everyone would be in the parking lot.”
Puglisi agreed, “If it was up to me I’d have it restricted for the whole recreation complex.”
The ordinance passed on introduction by a vote of 3-1 with Vuoncino dissenting.
Council President Bruce Iacobelli and Councilman Ray Melone were absent from the council meeting. Last month, Iacobelli expressed opposition to the proposed ordinance.