Marietta considers smoking ban around Square

Marietta could become the second city in Cobb County to ban smoking in public areas around its downtown.

City Council members on Monday will review two ordinances that would tackle the issue. The first would ban smoking in spaces restaurants lease from the city to provide outdoor seating on sidewalks to customers, said City Manager Bill Bruton. Those eateries would be required to include signage on tables indicating the areas no longer allow smoking.

Marietta’s second proposal would ban smoking in public areas such as streets, alleys and sidewalks in its downtown district. While this would generally include areas around Marietta Square, the City Council must approve the boundaries for the ban.

Both ordinances were reviewed last week at the Council’s Legislative-Judicial Committee meeting. For example, the changes would target areas such as the alleyway with seating next to Hemingway’s on West Park Square and outdoor seating at Taqueria Tsunami and Johnnie MacCrackens, said Rusty Roth, the city’s development services director.

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City Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson pointed out that the city’s changes, if approved, would not affect Marietta Food Market.

“My concern is while the Marietta Food Market appears to be part of downtown Marietta, you can sit outside and smoke there,” she said. “But we would be saying you can’t do that at the other restaurants that are around the Square.”

At least one other Cobb County city — Smyrna — has banned smoking in its downtown district. The city’s ban approved in December prohibits smoking in all public places along Atlanta Road between Windy Hill Road and Concord and Spring roads.

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The city of Atlanta in July also banned smoking in public places, as well as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the feedback he’s received on this topic “have been very supportive” of a ban on smoking. Councilman Joseph Goldstein also said he’s heard from people on both sides of the issue.

“Some are all for the ban, others are for it, but wonder how it will be enforced, and there are some who oppose it as government overreach,” he said.

The council will discuss the proposed ban at its work session, which starts at 5:15 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

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