Smoking is prohibited in Bexley's public parks.
On Feb. 25, Bexley City Council unanimously approved Ordinance 03-20, which amends city code and adds smoking and vaping as a prohibited activity in city parks in addition to the consumption of drugs and alcohol.
The ordinance includes a provision that will enable the Bexley Recreation Board, which oversees policies governing the city's parks and recreation facilities, to designate a smoking area adjacent to Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., should it choose. Although the board has the option of adding a smoking area, the ordinance states it may ultimately decide against the move.
Before approving the ordinance, council members discussed whether to revise language that refers to the possibility of adding a smoking area at Jeffrey Mansion. Mayor Ben Kessler suggested removing a phrase indicating that the recreation board has no "obligation" to add the smoking area.
"It feels superfluous," Kessler said in reference to the phrase. "The rec board doesn't have the obligation, already, in the law."
City attorney Marc Fishel suggested changing "shall" to "may" in reference to the recreation board's authority, which, he said, more clearly indicates that the board is not mandated by the ordinance to add a smoking area at Jeffrey Mansion.
Replacing "shall" with "may" would "change the meaning, but it's more legislatively, grammatically correct," Fishel said.
Council member Matt Klingler, chairman of council's recreation committee and the liaison to the recreation board, emphasized that board members were adamant about expressly stating the board was under no obligation to add a smoking area at Jeffrey Mansion when the board approved the resolution on Feb. 12.
"They wanted that language," Klingler said. "They voted, they were unanimous."
The final language in council's amended version of Ordinance 03-20 states, "Recreation and Parks Board shall have the authority to designate a defined smoking area adjacent to Jeffrey Mansion."
Council also approved amendments to the ordinance that includes a definition of a "public park" as "any City-owned or City-controlled park or recreational lands open to the public, including but not limited to playgrounds, restrooms, shelter houses, pavilions, outdoor pools, outdoor patios, athletics fields, pedestrian and bike paths/trails, wooded areas, parking lots, entertainment and performance areas, bleachers, passive green space, and sitting/standing areas. Public park also includes the entire parcel or parcels of land upon which such facilities are located."
Ordinance 03-20 will go into effect March 25, 30 days from when council approved it.