Dearborn board officially enacts tobacco ban for city property

DEARBORN, Mo. — After taking a few months to tinker with language, the Dearborn Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a city ordinance amendment banning the use of tobacco products on city-owned property. The board met Monday, Feb. 13 with most of the proceedings focusing on finalizing the smoking ordinance and passing another ordinance that requires proper removal and disposal of animal feces. 

First brought up in October of 2016, the smoking ban, titled Bill No. 329, required further clarification after discussion of the matter in the January meeting, and legal counsel took the changes under advisement.

According to the approved bill, lighted smoking materials, smokeless tobacco products and electronic, chemical and mechanical smoking devices are now prohibited on all city-owned property. The previous bill draft cited public property inside the city limits.

City-owned property in Dearborn includes Dean Park, Dearborn City Hall and the Dearborn Community Center, among others. At this time, the ban does not extend to businesses like bars and restaurants.

In original discussions, the board made a provision for designated smoking areas to be determined, and that language remains in the final bill. “Unless designated and exempted by clear signage approved by the Board of Aldermen,” each of the top three sections of the bill start. 

Those in violation would face a ticket and a summons to municipal court.

Since a designated smoking area exists outside the community center building, leaders want to look at the idea of viable places to put one elsewhere further away from the building. Adding the designated area provision allows the leaders to add or remove places to smoke without the need to rewrite city code. 

Signs will be added as necessary to designate the smoking areas.

Bill No. 330 amends city code to require, “All feces accumulations in any pen, run, cage, yard or other establishment wherein any animal is kept” to be removed or disposed to prevent accumulation of pests and/or odors. Owners of animals are now required to remove any feces the pets deposits on public walks, streets, recreation areas or property.

Members of the audience asked how the ordinance would be enforced, and Platte County Sheriff’s Office deputy Frank Thurman said people would have to physically see evidence of the feces being deposited. The reporting party would also need to appear in court to attest to the reported offense.

Pictures and videos would help provide evidence.

“If it’s up to us to identify the dog that pooped, that’s going to be hard to do,” Thurman said. “My guess would be someone would have to witness it and be willing to sign a complaint, and we can issue a summons.”

“And come to court,” Dearborn mayor Jamie Morey said.

The board also agreed to move its monthly meeting to Monday, March 20 to avoid a scheduling conflict.