No Smoking! Tobacco ban to extend beyond Dover’s library

Councilman Roy Sudler proposed an amendment to the library’s proposal at the Dover City Council meeting Monday night which also included no smoking within 25 feet of doorways to all city offices and buildings and eliminating smoking at city parks. The amendment passed with a unanimous vote. (Delaware State News file photo)

Councilman Roy Sudler proposed an amendment to the library’s proposal at the Dover City Council meeting Monday night which also included no smoking within 25 feet of doorways to all city offices and buildings and eliminating smoking at city parks.
The amendment passed with a unanimous vote. (Delaware State News file photo)

DOVER — Officials at the Dover Public Library had stated their concerns about people smoking around the building and sometimes setting the mulch on fire at the facility by failing to fully extinguish their cigarette butts.

So they proposed that Dover’s City Council initiate a smoke-free policy at the library and its grounds — for safety, cleanliness and the health of visitors.

That wasn’t quite enough for City Councilman Roy Sudler. He proposed an amendment to the library’s proposal at the Dover City Council meeting at City Hall Monday night which also included no smoking within 25 feet of doorways to all city offices and buildings and eliminating smoking at city parks.

Councilman Sudler’s amendment passed with a unanimous vote. Councilmen Brian Lewis and David Anderson were absent from the meeting but Mr. Sudler said they both offered their support.

“I think that everyone recognized the value of environmental safety and had concerns,” Councilman Sudler said. “Second-hand smoking is just as detrimental as first-hand smoking.

“Me having sarcoidosis [a disease that can affect the lungs] myself, I truly do understand the need for a clean environment and a sanitary environment and I’m glad that my council colleagues feel the same way.”

Councilman Fred Neill said he wasn’t surprised the smoking ban passed without opposition.

“One of the problems they had specifically with the library was people were throwing cigarette butts onto the grassy areas and the mulch was burning up,” Mr. Neill said. “I think there is a safety issue and I understand the reason councilman Sudler was saying, ‘OK, we’re going to do [a smoking ban] for the library, how about the other buildings?’ And I was very happy to support that.”

Mr. Sudler was especially pleased that all of the city properties were treated as equals in the vote, as he previously stated that he thought some individuals who smoke outside the library could be perceived as “being targeted by a smoking ban.”

“I just want to commend my council colleagues for having a unanimous vote,” he said. “And being the lead chairman of our Parks & Rec, I thought it was very important to have our youth in a clean, healthy environment.

“I’m not against people who smoke, but like my mother and father taught me, there’s a time and a place for everything.”

In other business:

• Caroline Hermance was presented a Certificate of Recognition by Mayor Robin Christiansen for her outstanding work with students with disabilities, volunteerism and academic excellence.

“Caroline is one of the many superstars we have among our youth in Dover,” Mayor Christiansen said. “I congratulate you on all your fine work and successes.”

• City council recommended awarding a contract valued at $335, 470 to Eastern States Construction Service Inc. for the city of Dover’s North State Street Gravity Sewer Repair Project.

The project is expected to close portions of North State Street while the construction is taking place.

City Manager Scott Koenig estimated that the work will begin in late October, following parades anticipated to take place on the road by NASCAR Sprint Cup truck haulers in September and homecoming parades for Dover High School and Delaware State University in October.

• Council members passed an ordinance that updates the standards and terminology throughout the Dover Code as they relate to manufactured homes. The proposed ordinance also implements standards for management and maintenance of land lease communities.

“This is just a full review of the [Dover] Code as it relates to anything and everything that has to do with manufactured housing and mobile homes,” said Anne Marie Townshend, the city’s director or planning and community development.

• Council introduced the first reading of a proposed ordinance that will consolidate the Construction Code Appeals Committee and the Property Maintenance Code Board of Appeals. Final action by council will take place during the second reading on Aug. 22.

The consolidation puts appeals related to Chapter 22 (Buildings and Building Regulations), Chapter 46 (Fire Prevention and Protection) and Chapter 50 (Floods) under one committee consisting of five members instead of three and will change the composition of the members by replacing the city manager with an elected city official.

The plan is to create the Construction and Property Maintenance Code Board of Appeals with the sitting members of the existing groups. The appointments will continue to be shared by Mayor Christiansen and Council President Tim Slavin.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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