Expanded smoking ban at parks being considered

COSTA MESA — A ordinance that would ban smoking at city parks could be up for public discussion at an upcoming City Council meeting, the city attorney's office said Friday.

The ordinance would bar smoking within 50 feet of the city's 29 parks, said Elena Gerli of the Jones & Mayer law firm, which acts as the city attorney's office.

The proposal comes on the heels of a similar ban that's working its way through Newport Beach's City Council. Newport Beach began considering the ban in April.

In May, Costa Mesa's Parks and Recreation Commission approved pushing a ban at parks with playground equipment to the City Council.

"One of my personal feelings is just from having children playing in the parks and playgrounds, having people smoke is just not good for our children," said Cambria Briggs, a Costa Mesa mother who is also on the city's Homeless Task Force.

Parks and Recs commissioners said at their May meeting that not only were youth groups concerned about second-hand smoke, the Homeless Task Force was discussing the issue too because some homeless people congregate at parks and smoke.

"That's part of it, the social element of it," Briggs said.

With city officials expecting the task force to suggest its own ban, the city attorney's office expanded on the commission's recommendation. The item could appear before the council as a public hearing in the next few months, Gerli said.

"They want to receive feedback from the community first before making any decisions," she said.

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