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Palm Coast Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 3 weeks ago

Palm Coast approves e-cigarette ordinance

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Also: Councilman Jack Howell questions dollar store moratorium after being 'besieged by calls' from residents.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

The process of selling e-cigarettes in the city of Palm Coast is changing: From this point forward, sellers will have to keep the devices and associated gear like vape liquids behind a counter or behind glass so that they're not directly accessible to customers.

They are also forbidden from selling to customers under 21 or selling the devices through vending machines. Users of e-cigarettes will not be allowed to vape in areas that prohibit smoking.

“I think we've jumped ahead and put the cart before the horse with regard to the Dollar General store."

 

— JACK HOWELL, city councilman, on the city's moratorium on dollar stores

The changes are a result of a city ordinance proposed by City Councilman Jack Howell and approved 4-0 during the council's Feb. 4 meeting. (One council member, Eddie Branquinho, was absent.)

“What we're trying do here is regulate the nature of the marketing," City Attorney Bill Reischmann said, so that the devices aren't sold “where a minor or anyone can just go over and pick them up."

The sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21 is also banned under federal law.

Howell had first proposed the ordinance at a Dec. 10 workshop, saying it is intended to protect young people's health. He cited data from the school district showing that rising numbers of students are using the devices, including some still in middle school.

Road work approved

The council on Feb. 4 unanimously approved a $2.86 million contract with Halifax Paving for the resurfacing of arterial roadways. Work that will commence this year includes Palm Harbor Parkway from Palm Coast Parkway to Coral Way; Belle Terre Parkway from Royal Palms Parkway to Palm Coast Parkway eastbound; and Old Kings Road from State Road 100 to Town Center Parkway. 

The city is setting aside another $100,000 for construction engineering and inspection services, plus a 10% contingency, bringing the total project cost to about $3.25 million. 

Howell questions dollar store moratorium

Less than a month after it was approved, the city’s 120-day moratorium on dollar stores has drawn criticism from a council member. 

“I think we've jumped ahead and put the cart before the horse with regard to the Dollar General store," Councilman Jack Howell said at the council's Feb. 4 meeting. “I have been besieged by calls from citizens." 

The council had voted 5-0 in favor of the moratorium. 

Howell has been trying to draw aviation-related businesses into the community, he said, and one person he was talking to for that effort had heard about the moratorium. 

“One of them asked me, ‘Are you people anti-business? because I see what you’re doing with the Dollar General,'” Howell said. “I'm trying to push economic development, and I don't want people in the business community that I’m trying to bring here to get the wrong impression."

Howell proposes reimbursement limit 

During the City Council’s Feb. 4 meeting, Councilman Jack Howell suggested the city change its policies so that council members are not reimbursed for certain kinds of travel and meal expenses for non-essential functions — such as attending the Flagler County Chamber's recent installation event. 

No other board members seconded his motion.

City formalizes trespass warning process

Individuals who are trespassed from city property will be able to appeal their trespass warnings under a new system approved by the City Council at its Feb. 4 meeting.

The council voted 4-0 to approve an ordinance that formalized the process for issuing the warnings that would bar people from city property, and also establishes a quasi-judicial process, such as those used in city code enforcement or animal control cases, for people to appeal. 

Only two people have been trespassed from the city, according to city staff. 

 

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