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clock May 30, 2007 6:07 am US/Pacific

Beverly Hills Votes To Ban Smoking Outdoors

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(AP) BEVERLY HILLS Smoking will be banned in nearly all outdoor dining areas in Beverly Hills under a proposal given initial approval by its City Council, which rejected pleas from restaurant owners who claimed it would hurt business.

An approved amendment would require hotels to allow smoking in 25 percent of their poolside dining areas.

Violators would be cited and fined. The first offense would be $100, $200 for a second within one year and $500 for each additional violation within one year, according to Beverly Hills Department of Economic Development Project Manager Daniel E. Cartagena.

Cartagena expected few tickets would be issued, as diners or staff would probably point out the smoking ban, which would prompt the smokers to stop.

"This is significantly self-policing," Cartagena said before the vote.

The ban would go into effect Oct 1, if given final approval at the June 19 council meeting.

The proposal also calls for city staff to evaluate the effects of the measure, including if it results in declining business at restaurants offering outdoor dining and less sales-tax revenue for the city, and another hearing before the council before May 31, 2008.

If the ban causes too many problems, the City Council can repeal the ordinance before May 31, 2008, Cartagena said.

The proposal came about through a suggestion by Councilman Barry Brucker in September following complaints from the public, Cartagena said.

A two-member ad hoc committee consisting of Brucker and Councilwoman Linda Briskman met three times to study the issue and make recommendations to city staff members, who developed an initial proposal, which was revised following an April 26 council study session and meetings between the committee, Chamber of Commerce and Beverly Hills Restaurant Association, Cartagena said.

Only a few Beverly Hills restaurants have large outdoor dining areas. One is Caffe Roma, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the actor Sylvester Stallone regularly smoke cigars while in the outdoor dining area.

( 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

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