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Fuming Over Zoning-Related Smoking Ban

Publication Date: 3/15/2007
  • Author:Brigid Schulte
  • Publication:The Washington Post

To Some Pub Customers, the Rationale For Alexandria's Proposal Seems Hazy

The Alexandria City Council is considering controlling smoking with such readily available tools as use permits. Under the proposed plan, any new bar or restaurant requesting a permit would have to agree to be smoke-free. Likewise, existing establishments such as Pat Troy's would come under the same restrictions if they applied for permits to change or improve their facilities.

Restaurants with permits would have to agree to go smoke-free within three months or risk future restrictions or closure.

Several bills to ban smoking were considered in the Virginia General Assembly during the recent session, but failed. The only smoking-related bill to pass requires restaurants that allow smoking to post notices outside.

Under Virginia law, local governments are not allowed to pass ordinances contrary to, or more restrictive than, state law. That's when Alexandria officials came up with what they call a "creative, outside-the-box" solution to use the zoning process to ban smoking.

"This is something we all wanted," Mayor William D. Euille (D) said