Smoking at city parks, trails could be banned by Hgtn. Common Council

Smoking at city parks and trails would be discouraged — or banned outright — if the Huntington Common Council takes action on a suggestion made by the father of young sons.

Anthony Lisinicchia, accompanied by his oldest son, Angelo, spoke to the council during its meeting on Tuesday, June 13. He asked the members to consider passing an ordinance banning smoking at the parks and trails.

Lisinicchia says he and his family are frequent visitors to the parks and trails, and he's long been frustrated with the trash and cigarette butts left at those sites. But what prompted his visit to council, he said, was “dealing with smoke while being on the playground with my sons.” He wants the parks and trails to be declared smoke-free areas.

“To be honest, I didn't realize they weren't,” council member Erin Covey said.

While she and other council members seemed willing to consider Lisinicchia's request, council member Jack Slusser wondered if the job could be done without establishing an ordinance.

“Enforcing it would be a tough situation,” he said, suggesting that a policy, rather than an ordinance, might be enough to get people to stop smoking at parks and trails.

Lisinicchia argued that an ordinance that sets out penalties for smoking at parks and trails would have more “teeth” than a policy.

“An ordinance would indicate we're serious about the health of our community,” he said.

“A suggestion I don't think would be strong enough,” Covey said.

Mayor Brooks Fetters agreed to contact leaders of other cities to see if and how they regulate smoking at their parks and trails. He plans to provide their feedback to council members prior to the council's next meeting on June 27, when the council plans to take up the topic again.

In other business Tuesday, the council approved documents filed by Bendix, CSP and Park Lofts showing that those businesses remain in compliance with the terms for tax reductions they were granted on personal property and real estate.