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Thread: Tobacco and smoke shops

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Tobacco and smoke shops

    Silly me, I've always just considered them retailers. I have a councilman who has asked me to see if any cities define and regulate them individually (the way you would see with SOBs, or mixed-drinks, etc.) So I'm doing my due diligence, and I trust the denizens of Cyburbia to have the dirt on any topic: If anybody knows of any examples or has a solid "definition" that would be helpful. Likewise, if it is unimaginable and baffling that anyone would consider parsing this use out, I'll tally that up for him, too.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Interesting question.

    The use could have been named in very old zoning codes that went into excruciating detail about listing all the individual uses permitted in a zoning district. I've never seen them singled out and regulated differently than any other retail use, though. My interpretation is that it would be a regular retail use, the impact of which is no different than a card store, purse boutique or whatever.

    How would the public interest be served, or the comprehensive plan better implemented, if tobacco shops were regulated any differently than another small retail use?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    With more and more cities, counties, and states outlawing public smoking the rebirth of cigar shops and smoke shops has come. I don't know specifically any cities that have conditional or special exceptions for these uses, but I'm sure they exist. I'd be interested to see what you find since this is a newer phenomena with the anti-smoking legislation around.
    @GigCityPlanner

  4. #4
    I agree. They should be considered retail. In fact, our zoning ordinance actually lists the sale of "tobacco and related products" as an allowable use under Retail Sales and Service in the definition section.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. I actually did find several cities in CA that have either passed or drafted ordinances requiring specific spacing (1000 feet, typically) from "child sensitive" areas like schools and parks.

    The cities that have passed or drafted ordinances I was able to find are all in CA; Richmond, San Rafael, Pasadena and Montebello.

    From my part, I'm going to propose a restriction through a 6 month Temp Zoning allowed under Utah law while I continue to research with my attorney's office whether we really want to go down this road. I'm still unsure if we should.....it feels....wrong.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    update

    Just an update: we did impose a moratorium on "tobacco oriented retail" back in April. I'm now tasked with proposing potential limiting standards to associate with that definition at a work session this coming Tuesday.

    For the sake of interest, I'm leaning toward very strict standards in order to hit the categorical definition (i.e. if tobacco products don't account for almost all your sales or floor area then you're not tobacco oriented retail) and some standard-issue "what-about-the-children" separations from schools and parks, etc.

    If anyone has any thoughts or ideas I'd love to hear them. Cyburbia is ground-zero in my opinion for both common-sense and the completley obtuse...and that's why I love it so much!
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  7. #7
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Good God - what is the problem with such uses? I think you have some overly puritanical elected officials that think this is not a waste of time.

    Good luck. I think your attorney dropped the ball by not demanding this was a waste of time and legally suspect.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I agree. Like Dan said in response to the original post, how does it serve the community to regulate tobacco shops differently than other retail?

    However, the Council won't drop it and they've now asked that I give them something at the work session. I'm thinking the attorney may raise alarms now in response to looking at regulations that he didn't raise when it was just a moratorium.

    I'll post an update after the 29th just in case anyone is interested.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  9. #9
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    We're proposing an amendment to call them "tobacco retailers", define them and treat the same as retail (permitted uses). Also, we defined hookah lounges, cigar bars, etc as tobacco retailers. This is to be consistent with state law in Arizona. Tobacco retailers, hookah loungers, cigar bars are allowed smoking inside as long as more than 50% of their sales are tobacco or tobacco related products. Bars, grocery stores, gas stations, etc are not considered tobacco retailers.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I'd be interested in how you're identifying them. I've done a definition, but I'll be modifying it moving forward out of the moratorium. For the moratorium I ended up drafting language (we had no definition) identifying them as:

    "A commercial establishment with less than 10,000 square feet of total sales area, where the sale and/or display of tobacco and/or tobacco related products accounts for greater than 10% of the sales floor and display areas, 30% of gross sales receipts, or any commercial establishment declaring itself through name or advertising to be oriented specifically to the selling of tobacco or tobacco related products."

    We were trying to miss grocerty stores, gas stations, etc. Is your proposed amendment solely in response to the smoking on-site?
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    We were trying to miss grocerty stores, gas stations, etc. Is your proposed amendment solely in response to the smoking on-site?
    Mostly. Hookah lounges are being proposed more often. Smoking is allowed in them. The Arizona Smoke Free law complicates things in that it defines tobacco shops (vaguely) and a state appeals court decision defines a tobacco shop (a bit less vaguely). Due to the state appeals court decision. they defined sales of tobacco exceeding 50% as a "tobacco shop". We are mirroring that so that restaurants and bars can't call themselves "hookah lounges" or "cigar bars" and try to get around the smoking ban.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Do state statutes prohibit on-premise smoking at these businesses? just wondering.

    My town bans tattoo parlors but i think there are enough smokers here so that something like this wouldn't happen here.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Who's Smoking What?

    Pardon the pun but is the intended regulation of tobacco establishments really just a "smokescreen" for limiting businesses specializing in the sale of marijuana smoking devices (e.g., bongs, pipes, etc.)? Just curious.

    Medical marijuana suppliers and the associated service shops (aka tobacco shops) are multiplying like crazy in California. I'm not saying whether that's good or bad. But it is interesting to observe local governments deal with them from a land use regulation perspective.

    Best of luck to you, Ursus.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Kevin Colin View post
    Pardon the pun but is the intended regulation of tobacco establishments really just a "smokescreen" for limiting businesses specializing in the sale of marijuana smoking devices (e.g., bongs, pipes, etc.)? Just curious.

    Medical marijuana suppliers and the associated service shops (aka tobacco shops) are multiplying like crazy in California. I'm not saying whether that's good or bad. But it is interesting to observe local governments deal with them from a land use regulation perspective.

    Best of luck to you, Ursus.
    Now that's interesting, I hadn't considered the timing of the CA regs I looked at for models and the medical marijuana game...coupled with the growing number of states that are and will legalize it I should be seeing activity in Colorado and other places. Short answer for my muni here - nope. Very very interesting though, KC, thanks for the insight. I should have read that in Boiker's comments as well.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    This type of regulation as a ďsmokescreenĒ for banning medical marijuana shops is an interesting thought, and one that had not occurred to me before; it wouldnít surprise me if that is the case in some areas. For what itís worth, my city handles the medical marijuana issue by banning any uses that are contrary to either state or federal law (still against federal law; so no pot shops).

    On the smoke shop issue, my city had some discussions about these types of stores after Michiganís new smoking ban went into effect earlier this year. I donít think the discussions amounted to much. As far as zoning goes, I *think* we would still treat a smoke shop/tobacco shop as a retail use without any additional regulation. For the record, Iím happy with this approach; I donít see why we should single out smoke/tobacco shops.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kpf View post
    As far as zoning goes, I *think* we would still treat a smoke shop/tobacco shop as a retail use without any additional regulation. For the record, Iím happy with this approach; I donít see why we should single out smoke/tobacco shops.
    I'm going to wager that virually everybody associated is happy with regulating tobacco shops as just another retailer, and the reasons to regulate specially are not making me entirely comfortable, but I'm forging ahead at the behest of Council.

    Other regulations I'm modeling on have relied on attempting to bolster State attempts to limit the availability of controlled substances to minors and promoting health and welfare. Also, Police Chiefs will attest (mine included, as he did last night) that tobacco shops are targeted for break-ins much more frequently than other shops. Chiefs will also talk about the high incidence of teenage loitering and on and on. Statistically it has been shown (cited in the CA regs I've read) that small tobacco shops are more likely to sell to minors, to sell individual cigarettes (I'm sure not with the sanction of owners, it's just a result of employee control being less than at grocery stores, etc.). That's where we'll be hanging our hat, I think.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    The rationale for regulating these uses is starting to sound a lot like the rationale for regulating liquor licenses, so Iím not surprised you are going to end up with similar regulations Ė various separation requirements, tight categorical definitions Ė like the ones you mentioned upthread.

    I wonder, though, about the reasons for wanting create these regulations in the first place. Are tobacco shops becoming so widespread in your area that your council feels a need to pass this sort of thing? Some other reason?

    Best of luck crafting this to hit all the businesses you want and miss all you donít. Iíd be interested in seeing the final result.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kpf View post

    I wonder, though, about the reasons for wanting create these regulations in the first place. Are tobacco shops becoming so widespread in your area that your council feels a need to pass this sort of thing? Some other reason?

    Best of luck crafting this to hit all the businesses you want and miss all you donít. Iíd be interested in seeing the final result.
    Widespread - no. More common, yes. And I hate to say it, but what this amounts to is really just over-reaction in my book. In Utah, Liquor stores are all state-run. Other than that you can just buy beer and such at grocery stores. Tobacco shops, I think, to them seem "unlawful" because the state always handled the serious liquor sales and we don't have that for smokes...

    I will definitely post the final result.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Result

    We passed an ordinance identifying a new category for Tobacco Oriented Retail, and made them Conditional Use Permit items, with a mandatory 600 foot (standard Utah block) separation. Identified ultimately as businesses of less than 10,000 s.f., where > 10% of the floor space is for tobacco & related products, or > 30% of receipts come from tobacco & related products or any business of any size who self-identify as being oriented to the sale of tobacco. Not terribly exciting in the end.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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