Two proposed ordinances that would permit the establishment of smoking lounges in the city were recommended for approval Tuesday by a committee of the Pine Bluff City Council.
The Development and Planning Committee reviewed a proposed ordinance that would amend an existing ordinance dealing with smoking in public places, along with a second proposed ordinance defining smoking lounges for the city’s zoning code.
The city currently has an ordinance that prohibits smoking in all public places, places of employment and all city buildings. The proposed ordinance would exempt what were called cigar bars, which are defined as a public establishment that caters to patrons who smoke cigars and other tobacco products.
That ordinance also sets out specific requirements for the cigar bars, which would be required to be in an enclosed area separate from any areas of the building where smoking is prohibited. Also required will be a separate HVAC system and special filtration system if the cigar bar is not a stand-alone business. Additionally, the establishment would be required to maintain an on-site humidor.
Persons under the age of 18 would not be permitted in the business, which would be required to close between 12:01 a.m. and 8 a.m. daily, and the owner/operator would be prohibited from hosting events such as birthday parties, baby showers, graduation parties and the like.
If alcoholic beverages are also sold or consumed at the business, licensing by the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would be required and admission to those under 21 would be prohibited during the time the alcoholic beverages were being consumed.
The second proposed ordinance dealing with definitions was approved by the Pine Bluff Planning Commission as amendments to the city’s zoning code.
While the first proposed ordinance calls the businesses cigar bars, the second refers to them as smoking lounges and defines them as “a business establishment that is dedicated in whole or part to the smoking of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and other substances but not limited to various establishments known variously as cigar lounges, hookah lounges, tobacco clubs, tobacco bars, etc.”
Assistant Fire Marshal Lt. Randy Compton, who attended the meeting, said the proposed ordinances were acceptable to the Fire and Emergency Services Department.
In other business before the committee, a bid to buy the former George Alford Fire Station at 30th Avenue and Ash Street was tabled until next month.
Charles Jamison, who currently lives in Arvada, Colorado, submitted a bid of $15,000 for the building, which has been vacant since 2013 when the department moved to a newly structured fire station near 31st Avenue and Olive Street.
Jamison, who spoke to the committee by phone, said that if he were successful in buying the building, he planned to convert it into a single-family residence within a year. He said he was originally from Monticello and was planning to move back to Arkansas.
The committee recommended adding vacant structures at 1021 S Linden St., 3401 S. Tennessee St., and 200 W. Harding Ave. to the list of properties to be condemned and torn down.