Next week's policy work session for the Norcross City Council has the repeal of an initiative that has been highly debated these past few months: the tobacco free ordinance.
At a PDC meeting in late May, Councilman Ross Kaul announced that he had , even though he had spearheaded the effort since last year.
"After successfully passing the Tobacco Free ordinance, we were inundated with VM/Email asking local government to stay out of the issue," says the agenda item from Kaul. "To quote, 'We don’t want government telling us what to do!' The issue changed completely from tobacco use to one of too much government involvement."
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Mayor Bucky Johnson said that even if the council agrees to repeal the item at the June work session, the item would still have to be approved at the July city council meeting.
Kaul said at the PDC meeting that the intiative, which would ban the use of tobacco products from all city property including parking lots and sidewalks starting July 1, should have been more citizens-involved before going to the council for a final vote.
Ever since the ordinance passed 3-1 at the May city council meeting, many Norcross locals complained that it gave the local goverment too much power. , too, saying that it would decrease their customer base by scaring smokers away. Petitions were in many of the shops to gain signatures for support against the ban.
Others, though, agreed with the ban because of it's original intent of decreasing the secondhand effects of tobacco.
"I bring young kids to the parks; why should we have to breathe in stinking smokey air just because someone can't go without a cigarette for a few hours?" commented Cheryl Rankin .
One resident during the June city council meeting even asked the council and mayor .
"Please do not give in to the hysteria that prohibiting smokers on the streets of Norcross will result in a drastic and permanent downturn of local business," she said.
The policy work session will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 18, at the . For the rest of the agenda items, download the agenda here or check back with Patch on Monday.