Mar 31, 2014 22:39 Zachary council considers tobacco ban on city property Zachary council considers tobacco ban on city property Emily Beck Cogburn| Special to The Advocate March 31, 2014 Comments ZACHARY — All smoking and tobacco use soon could be banned on Zachary city property. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to introduce an ordinance that would prohibit the use of any kind of tobacco outside of buildings and at other property owned by the city, including at the Zachary Youth Park. The proposal was made in response to problems at the Zachary Food Pantry and the park, Mayor David Amrhein said. The law would not make tobacco use on city property a criminal offense, meaning that people could not be arrested for violations. Police would simply ask people to leave, City Attorney John Hopewell said. Smoking is already prohibited inside city buildings and vehicles, Amrhein said. Police Chief David McDavid expressed support for the proposed law. “We had a lot of people at the City Court the other day and the cigarette thing (outside) caught on fire,” he said. The ordinance does not address the electronic cigarettes often used by people trying to quit smoking. The ban also does not apply to city streets. Any areas where smoking is banned must be marked, Hopewell said. “When you have people going right outside the buildings to smoke and people have to walk through it, you might as well have smoking in the building,” Amrhein said. A public hearing must be held on the issue before a the law can be adopted. DOOR -TO-D OOR SOLICITATIONS: The City Council introduced an ordinance that would require all door-to-door solicitors and peddlers operating out of parking lots or in other public areas in Zachary to present identification and pay a $250 fee. People representing religious, nonprofit, political and ideological organizations would be exempted from the law. The proposed law was written to allow for maximum flexibility, so that the City Council can grant waivers to any group, for any geographical area and for any day or time, Hopewell said. “The citizens have been looking for this. I hope we have something with teeth now to keep people safe,” Councilman John Coghlan said. GAS TRANSMISSION: The council approved an agreement between the city and Florida Gas Company to build a new regulator station on Carney Road. Building the new station should cost the city $300,000, Amrhein said. The total cost of improvements to the gas line system, including “upsizing” lines, will be between $1.5 million and $2 million, he said. The growth of the city as well as the decision by American Midstream to abandon a pipeline between the state line and south Baton Rouge necessitated the improvements, Amrhein said.