FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The Fort Walton beach city council approved a ban on smoking at city-owned parks and beaches. The second reading Tuesday night comes after a lengthy discussion in Oct.
The new ordinance will completely prohibit smoking and vaping at parks and public beaches, except for the use of filterless cigars (exempted by the state legislature.) City Council had the option to look at adding designated smoking areas in the parking lots at city parks, but that failed with the passing of the first reading.
The amendment reads as follows:
Chapter 7.05.05 of the City of Fort Walton Beach Code of Ordinances shall be amended as follows:
(10) Smoking in Parks Prohibited. Smoking and/or the use of vapor-generating devices within the boundaries of any public park or public beaches within the City limits is prohibited as authorized by Chapter 386.209, F.S. Unfiltered cigars are exempt from this provision.
Enforcement of this provision shall comply with Chapter 7.05.08 of the City of Fort Walton Beach Code of Ordinances.City of Fort Walton Beach
The ordinance was passed 5-2 with Allegretto and Holmes voting no on the issue.
“For the record, I am not going to support the motion,” said Nic Allegretto. “I agree that I don’t care for smoking at the parks. Don’t like to be around it, don’t want my kids to walk through it etc. But to regulate something like this without providing some sort of small area for people who do want to enjoy a smoke in a park they technically own, I just can’t support that.”
The ban goes into effect immediately. Police Chief Robert Bage spoke about the implementation of the new policy Tuesday night.
“We have some signage we are bout to put out,” said Chief Bage. “We will go into the production of signage, we will ensure signage is out there for a few weeks, and we can start true enforcement sometime in January.”
Fort Walton Beach has 18 public parks and beaches listed with a corresponding map online.