Frisco takes the lead on smoking ban
SUMMIT COUNTY – Town councils around the county are tackling the issue of smoking bans, and Frisco is leading the pack by a long shot.
At last week’s meeting, Frisco council members voted 4-3 to have town attorney Pat Tisdale draft an ordinance to ban smoking in the town’s bars and restaurants.
“I’ve written smoking ordinances before,” Tisdale said. “The biggest challenge is finding an effective way to enforce them.”
Tisdale plans to use the draft county ordinance as a model and make changes appropriate to the town.
“One of the things I am planning to do is to have conversations with the staff and council about where they’re going philosophically on the issue,” she said.
The council will vote on a first reading of the ordinance Dec. 9. and, if it’s approved, will vote on the second and final reading in early January, said interim town manager Theresa Casey.
According to Casey, the ordinance could contain an “effective date” for implementation, which could allow it to coincide with the county’s ban.
If the ordinance has no such effective date, it would take effect in late January at the earliest, if passed.
According to Tisdale, the town could enforce the ban in any number of ways, including writing tickets or establishing a private right of action for someone who has a complaint about smoking in a given establishment.
Mayor Bob Moscatelli voted against the drafting of an ordinance.
“I don’t think it’s a legitimate role of government to legislate smoking in private businesses,” Moscatelli said.
Compared to Frisco, other town councils are taking their time on the issue.
“We don’t consider it to be a burning issue,” said Silverthorne Mayor Lou DelPiccolo. “We don’t need to take care of this yesterday.”
“I was really encouraged by what Frisco did,” said Breckenridge Councilmember Jim Lamb. “I was really surprised.”
Lamb hopes to address the issue during a council work session next week, but Breckenridge town manager Tim Gagen doesn’t know whether the council will have enough time to do so in an already tight agenda.
Prior to the county election, several members of the council discussed placing the issue on the town ballot rather than legislating a local smoking ban through an ordinance, according to Gagen.
Gagen said he’s not sure where the council stands on the issue now.
According to Lamb, most council members are on the fence.
“I think it’s already been on the ballot, it’s silly to put it on again,” Lamb said. “The people have spoken. We would be negligent in our duties not to pass some kind of ordinance to ban smoking.”
Gagen said he expects the issue to appear on the agenda in a December work session if it doesn’t fit in next week.
In Silverthorne, officials are still gathering information on the issue.
“We haven’t put it on the agenda yet,” DelPiccolo said. “We know it’s out there. We have asked to get some feedback from the local business community, but we’re not rushing headlong into it. We’re working to make sure that everyone who has an interest is involved.”
Silverthorne Councilmember Sheila Groneman said the council hasn’t taken a strong direction on legislating a smoking ban.
“We did have a discussion about it at our last work session after the election,” Groneman said. “People talked about everything from regulating private businesses to the health issue. It was all over the board.”
According to town staff, the Silverthorne council will not address the issue again until a February work session.
The Dillon Town Council will discuss the possibility of a local smoking ban in a work session next week, with Mayor Barbara Davis at the helm.
“I feel as passionately pro-ordinance on this item as Mayor Bob Moscatelli feels passionately anti-ordinance,” Davis said.
“I’m hoping the town of Dillon will move forward with an ordinance. I think it should coincide with the county and read similarly to the county’s.
“The council is fairly divided on the issue, but we’ll know more next week. I think the vote in the county should weigh on people’s minds and that our local government should be responsive.”
Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at
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