Fireworks yes, smokers no go in Sunnyside
Another Carbon County city has chosen to ban smoking on municipal property in the name of healthy living and citizen's rights. The Sunnyside City Council voted unanimously last Tuesday to disallow the smoking of tobacco on all city property accept in designated areas.
Mayor Doug Parsons brought the topic to the council and commented that as it stands, smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of any egress, the motion the council would ultimately approve banned smoking anywhere on city property.
"That's the park, the ball field, the fire station, the cemetery," explained Parsons. "You can smoke on your own personal property."
Council member Tony Riffle took issue with the idea and stated that smokers should have a place where they are permitted and welcome.
"If you do this, they can't even leave the park to smoke because the parking lot and the ball field on either side of the park are city property," he said
He was informed that this was correct but that smokers could walk another five feet and then be in East Carbon.
"But this is the way trends are going," said Sunnyside council member Shari Madrid. "They are trying to make the parks healthier for people who are enjoying it."
Complaints have been brought to the city by individuals who have taken issue with smoking in the park and at the little league baseball park.
"I would feel better if we at least designated an area for people who smoke," said Riffle. "If you were a smoker, you wouldn't want this put on you. Smokers deserve a place."
Riffle, who admitted to being a former smoker, commented that polite treatment of all members of the public is a better way to go.
"I realize that they're trying to make parks healthy but isn't this a free country where you can smoke if you want to smoke?"
Riffle ultimately made a motion to accept the ordinance with the stipulation that areas be designated for smoking on city property and during community events.
In a smoke and fire related matter, Sunnyside officials also decided once again to allow residents to light off fireworks provided that they limit their activities to a predefined area. Last year, Sunnyside took issues with East Carbon's ban on the entire community and decided to allow fireworks in the relative safety of the Sunnyside Park's parking lot.
"Bringing everybody together in one spot has worked out really well," said East Carbon/Sunnyside Fire Chief Gene Madrid. "So if the state doesn't ban them, I think we are okay to continue at the park."
By bringing city residents to the park during July 4, city officials centralize the dangers dry conditions pose during firework's season and allows the fire authorities to have their equipment on hand in case a fire starts.