June 24, 2017
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RP City Council moves to tighten smoking restrictions

May 26, 2017

The Rohnert Park City Manager, Darrin Jenkins, gave a presentation on updates to the current city smoking ordinance, and during this presentation, public comments were taken that were bringing up the possibility of reconsidering the ordinance concerning second-hand smoke. Currently, it is considered a nuisance. Currently, single-family detached homes are exempt from restrictions, but Rohnert Park does not place restrictions on condominiums, which cities such as Windsor and Cotati recently do. One of the salient points being brought up wasn’t just about tobacco products, but on how the ordinances need to address marijuana use in public spaces such as parks, near playgrounds, and open air bars and restaurants.

These considerations were important enough for community members to come up to speak about the changes to the ordinance they’d like to see. Pam Granger, vice-chair for Smoke-Free Sonoma was the first to speak, and she wanted to make a case for Rohnert Park to adopt smoke free regulations for all parks and housing. Her argument was that people shouldn’t be exposed to toxic fumes just by virtue of where they lived. Anthony Taylor was up next, and he spoke about the townhome he’d purchased in 2006. His concern was that he had issues with neighbors on either side of him smoking both tobacco and marijuana, and when he asked for help from the the HOA and the police, the answer he got was, “While the city ordinance asks associations to designate nonsmoking, no homeowners association has the authority to enforce homeowners to be nonsmoking, and the city has not cited authority to do so.” Taylor was showing the city that as the ordinance currently stands, it’s confusing for HOAs and property managers.

Last was Mr. Davidian, a father who had asked for extended time to speak about how he and his family live in a small condo without air conditioning, and must open their windows to stay cool in the summer. Their neighbor smokes, and as Davidian and his wife have two very young children, he feels it’s unfair that an individual’s “right to smoke” takes precedence over the health of his children.

The council members discussed the comments, and all had similar feeling about the nuisance caused by second hand smoke. The decision was made to put more restrictions on individually owned condominium units, and discussions will be continued at a later date toward making the ordinance more restrictive.