Rehoboth looks to expand smoke-free areas

Ban proposed for canal bank, city hall campus, Steve Elkins Way
June 17, 2019

Story Location:
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

For years now, Rehoboth Beach’s Boardwalk, Bandstand, beaches and city parks have been smoke-free. Commissioner Richard Byrne said he’d like to see the city’s no-smoking footprint grow.

During a commissioner workshop June 10, Byrne suggested banning smoking on the Rehoboth side of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal bank, the recently dedicated Steve Elkins Way and much of city hall campus.

Byrne lives along the canal, and he said he brought the issue forward because of all the cigarette butts he sees along the canal bank trail when taking his dog for a walk. There are city benches and picnic tables along this stretch, he said, and those areas are always covered in cigarette butts.

“Depending on which way the rain comes down and the wind blows, [the butts] either wash into the canal or they go into the street and right down into our stormwater system,” said Byrne.

Byrne said a designated area should be established for city employees who smoke, and the canal bank area would include the proposed canal-access dock.

Police Department Chief Keith Banks said he was in favor of designating Steve Elkins Way as no-smoking, but he said it would be hard to regulate. He said some people may see it as a continuation of a sidewalk.

Commissioner Toni Sharp brought up 306 Rehoboth Ave., a city-owned property that’s currently home to the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, as a location to think about adding to the list.

Commissioner Stan Mills said he supports increasing the no-smoking areas. He said, if adopted, he would like to see a pavilion installed for employees and convention center patrons.

Byrne agreed with Mills, and he said he’d work with City Manager Sharon Lynn and City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas to craft a proposed amendment to the ordinance. He did not give a timeframe for completion of the draft, and it’s not part of the agenda for the Friday, June 21 commissioner meeting.

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