Beverly Hills one step closer to a smoking ban
PDT, May 30, 2007
The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously
Tuesday to ban smoking in nearly all outdoor dining areas within the city
limits, after it rejected pleas from restaurant owners who claimed it would hurt
An amendment approved would require hotels to allow
smoking in 25 percent of their poolside dining areas.
If given final
approval at the June 19 council meeting, the ban would go into effect October
Violators would be cited. The fine for the first offense would be
$100, $200 for a second offense within one year and $500 for each additional
violation within one year, according to Daniel E. Cartagena, a project manager
with Beverly Hills' Department of Economic Development.
Cartagena said he
expected few tickets would be issued, with diners or staff pointing out the
smoking ban, prompting smokers to stop, as has occurred in other cities with
similar smoking bans.
"This is significantly self-policing," Cartagena
said in an interview before the vote.
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,
If the ban caused too many problems, the City Council could repeal
the ordinance before May 31, 2008, Cartagena said.
The proposal stemmed
from 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
Many restaurants have small tables for sidewalk dining,
under a plan adopted by the City Council to give Beverly Hills' business
district a "European-style look and feel," according to an official of the
Beverly Hills Restaurant Association.
Restaurants pay a fee for being
able to use the sidewalks and to build barriers, with the understanding they
could be used by smokers, the official said.
Opponents say the ban could
prompt smokers to eat at restaurants in nearby Los Angeles or West Hollywood,
where smoking is allowed outdoors, thus costing Beverly Hills sales tax
Smoking is banned in restaurants under state law. Burbank,
Calabasas and Santa Monica have adopted outdoor smoking bans.