The new regulations would require new businesses that are located adjacent to residential buildings to install ventilation systems and patio covers over their outdoor smoking areas to divert smoke from entering residential units.
At a town hall meeting last year, a woman complained about smoke entering her apartment in the Silver Winds senior complex in the Media Village, located at Magnolia Boulevard and Third Street. Her complaints prompted officials to take a closer look at the city’s smoking ordinance.
“We are suffering,” the resident said at the time, adding that if she could afford to move, she would.
Three businesses below the complex, including Café O Hookah Lounge, Gitana Restaurant and Video Symphony, have outdoor smoking areas. Over the last roughly two years, the city has received 11 secondhand smoking complaints about these businesses.
During that same period, police and city officials received 465 smoking calls and complaints citywide, the majority of which originated from residential properties.
The new restrictions won’t likely affect existing businesses, but the three in Media Village have reportedly agreed to comply with the new regulations, said Community Development Director Joy Forbes.
Media Village Development, which owns the property where the three businesses are located, plans to install canopies over the smoking areas and an exterior fan to reduce the impact of smoke, officials said.
Revisions to the smoking ordinance are expected to come back to the council for a vote next year, Forbes said.