Smoking ban likely to exempt private clubs, hotels, tobacco shops

WARRENSBURG, Mo.-A possible smoking ban ordinance here would likely exempt private clubs, hotel rooms and tobacco shops.

That was the direction the Warrensburg City Council gave City Attorney Doug Harris Monday night.

Councilman Don Nimmer asked for a definition of “public places.” Harris said that meant “any place to which the public is invited or has access.”

Council discussed limitations, exceptions, enforcement and implementation of a potential smoking ban ordinance.

Councilman Baird Brock said he wanted “an inclusive application of this ordinance.” He said all public places should be included, with few exceptions, in order to create a level playing field.

“I don’t want one group of restaurants to have smoking, and one not,” Brock said. “I don’t want one group of bars to have smoking, and one not.”

Councilman Dr. Curt Dyer said the ordinance should protect employees. That led to a discussion regarding private clubs, such as the Elks and VFW, being exempt. Council members agreed that special functions at private clubs, such as wedding receptions, be nonsmoking because caterers and other employees are present.

Katie Scully, co-owner of Heroes Restaurant and Pub, said it’s too soon for a smoking ban.

“Pine Street has been hit so hard already by the bad economy and the 21 (compliance issue),” Scully said. “This is one more thing that’s going to hurt business.”

Council agreed, and noted that implementation of a ban would take at least one year.
“It is a very difficult time,” Brock said. “We need to give ourselves a year to do it and do it well.”

Mayor Jeff Terry said he favored an exemption for outdoor patios. But, there was no support from Council regarding exemptions during certain hours.

Nimmer said he wanted to hear more from the business community and the Responsible Hospitality Council.

“I’m a person who believes in choice a great deal,” Nimmer said.

City Manager Jeff Hancock said the city would seek public comment after an ordinance was developed.

Hawthorne agreement revised

Four years after entering into a development agreement with the city, Hawthorne Development has $725,000 worth of public improvements to be made. The 195-acre commercial and residential development is located in northern Warrensburg and includes the new Carmike movie theater.

The developer asked the city in January to help refinance Neighborhood Improvement District and future Transportation Development District notes. An NID allows for special assessments on property to fund public improvements. A TDD imposes a sales tax within a specific district for road work.

The city denied that request, and instead, amended the development agreement to partially refinance the NID notes.

“The city said no way we would let the developer off the hook for the notes,” said Hancock. “We have developed an agreement that is very amenable to the community.”

Council agreed to issue limited general obligation temporary notes not to exceed $2.825 million, to pay for the remaining public improvements, interest and the cost of issuing the notes.

Special assessments on property within the NID are to pay for the improvements.
The city in 2006 issued Missouri Municipal Temporary Notes in two series, $1.855 million and nearly $2.1 million. However, the costs for public improvements increased above estimates, and the developer could not finance the remaining work, according to city records.

The city agreed to refinance the first series of notes, $1.855 million, and the developer is responsible for financing the second series, according to city records.

The development has a TDD in place with a 1/2-cent sales tax within the district.
The remaining work involves improving Northern Hills Road and installing street lights.

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