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LAGUNA HILLS : Smoking Ban Put on Hold by Petition

September 24, 1993|RICHARD CORE

A city ordinance banning smoking in most public buildings, which was to go into effect today, has been put on hold by a group that claims the ban would create a hardship for restaurants and other businesses.

Members of the Committee for Better Restaurants, Business and Jobs submitted a petition to the city clerk's office late Thursday that, according to a preliminary count, contained about 1,330 signatures in opposition to the ban, said Don White, the city's administrative services director. The number exceeds the required 1,215 names--10% of the city's registered voters--needed to keep the ordinance from taking effect.

The group has been circulating the petition for the last two weeks in response to the City Council's adoption of the ordinance on Aug. 24.

The ordinance prohibits smoking in virtually "all enclosed areas available to and customarily used by the public" and bans cigarette vending machines. Smoking would still be allowed in bars that are separately ventilated or closed off from other public areas, and restaurants would be allowed to phase in the ban over a year.

The petition will now be submitted to the county registrar of voters office, which has 30 days to verify that the signatures are those of registered voters in Laguna Hills.

If the petition is ruled valid, the council will be required to put the ordinance before voters in a special election or the next regular election in June, White said.

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