By Ted AYALA
Following its approval last week of sweeping anti-smoking measures that banned smoking in all new residential units, the Glendale City Council continued on Tuesday to tweak its ordinances, this time increasing the distance between smoking and non-smoking areas in outdoor patios. The space between the sections increased from 10 to 15 feet.
The new rules, which will be effective in 30 days, follow debate among council members over what they felt was the arbitrariness of the original distance. The council voted unanimously for the change; Councilmember Frank Quintero was absent.
This new refinement of its standing anti-smoking measures is only a part of a broad effort by the city to curb smoking within its borders. The feedback from residents has been mostly positive, though many local smokers feel the city is engaging in an overreach of its powers.
It is a battle that was initiated in 2008 with the wide-reaching Glendale Fresh Air Ordinance. Since then, the ordinance has been augmented, though it has also been modified to reign in certain aspects. Hookah lounge owners scored a small victory late last year when the council opted to allow businesses with large outdoor areas to increase their smoking space.
The action provoked an outcry from anti-smoking groups, which compelled the council to enact the present changes that widen the space between smoking and non-smoking areas.
Council also modified an ordinance relating to preferred parking space on city streets, enabling residents to acquire the permits more easily.
The parking issue has been a particular problem in South Glendale and along the Brand Boulevard of Cars where several multi-unit apartments and condominiums compete with local business owners for the very limited parking space available.
Through the council’s modification, residents in a particular district can petition for permitted parking. If 66% of the residents in an affected area vote in favor of it, the city will automatically accede to their vote.
“Most of those old buildings like mine are 100 years old,” said citizen Margaret Hammond, who spoke in favor of amending the ordinance. “They’re lucky if they have one parking space per apartment.”
Preferred parking permits would be obtainable by local residents for a price of $25 each. Each household can obtain up to three permits.