Holmes Beach bans smoking at beach and parks

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People visit Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach September 16, where the city commission has banned smoking. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice

The Holmes Beach Police Department has new city codes to enforce.

City commissioners voted unanimously Sept. 16 to pass three ordinances banning smoking on beaches and public parks, adjusting sea turtle lighting regulations, and establishing a recovery management organization to create and implement a post-disaster recovery plan.

Commissioner Kim Rash was absent with excuse.

The smoking ban was created to limit the inappropriate disposal of cigarette butts and second-hand smoke.

The city is barred by the state from regulating smoking anywhere other than on city beaches and parks and the state exempts unfiltered cigars from regulation.

The ban declares smoking a “public health nuisance” at the city grounds, skate park, and Grassy Point Preserve, as well as the city’s many pocket parks and public beaches.

A city code citation for a first offense would cost $75.

HBPD leader Bill Tokajer said his officers would treat the cigarette ban like a ban on alcoholic beverages on beaches, with a warning followed by a citation. The citation fine would be paid at the town hall and appeals would be before a special magistrate.

The City’s Sea Turtle Lighting Ordinance Amending Ordinance lowers the allowable light transmittance value for tinted windows and sea-facing glass doors from 15% to 45%.

Sea turtle hatchlings use light reflected from the moon and stars in the Gulf of Mexico to navigate to the water, where artificial lighting can disorient them, sometimes leading to death from dehydration or predation.

The city originally implemented the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s recommended light transmission value of 15%, but the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recommends 45%.

Mayor Judy Titsworth previously said the amendment would bring the city more in line with state standards and encourage more people to buy new windows because the new rules would be more lenient.

The third order directs the RMO to prepare a recovery plan for consideration by the commission, which, if adopted, places the organization in charge of coordinating and implementing post-disaster situations.

The RMO would be headed by the mayor, with the city’s public works supervisor serving as deputy director, and the city attorney as legal counsel.

The order authorizes the RMO to implement certain temporary regulations if deemed “reasonably justifiable” for the recovery or protection of public health and safety.

These temporary regulations could include prohibiting public access to damaged or dangerous areas, establishing a moratorium on new building permits, or authorizing the Director of the RMO to issue permits for temporary use. of goods as critical facilities.

There was no public comment on the three points.

Plastic straw ban

City commissioners also reached consensus to file an ordinance that would have banned the distribution and sale of single-use plastic straws within city limits to add considerations for biodegradable plastic straws.

Plastic straws, one of the most common types of single-use plastics – plastic products typically used once and then thrown away – contribute to pollution and are small enough to lodge in the noses of sea turtles or be ingested by sea ​​life.

City officials wanted to regulate single-use plastics as a whole, but state laws prevent local municipalities from regulating any single-use plastic or foam other than straws.

However, Titsworth said a company that makes biodegradable plastic straws that would be banned under the proposed order contacted her ahead of the meeting.

Titsworth said the commission should consider allowances for these products because they are biodegradable and do not contain PFAs or polyfluoroalkyls, which are long-lasting and often carcinogenic chemical compounds.

Many paper straws use PFAs to provide resistance to liquid absorption.

Commissioner Jayne Christenson said she supported suspending the proposed order to consider changes, but said biodegradable plastic straws may also not be environmentally friendly.

Christenson said if it takes too long for such straw to biodegrade, it could still cause damage.

City attorney Erica Augello said an amended measure would have to go through the city ordinance process again.

The commission will meet at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 27 at City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive. Instructions for attending are available at holmesbeachfl.org.

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