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Smoking ban for outdoor restaurant seating backed by L.A. City Council committee

December 8, 2009 | 11:13 am
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2009/01/21/smoker1.jpgA plan for banning smoking in the outdoor sections of Los Angeles restaurants moved one step closer to approval today.

The City Council’s Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee agreed this morning to prohibit smoking within 10 feet of restaurant patios, gardens and decks. “This is a big step forward,” said Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes parts of Hollywood, Silver Lake, Koreatown and North Hollywood.

Under the proposed ordinance, any space that is within 30 feet of a food truck also will be defined as an “outdoor dining area.” The measure would not apply to nightclubs and bars that require patrons to be 18 or older. Anyone caught breaking the law could face a fine of up to $250, city officials said.

LaBonge, who heads the committee, said he wants a final council vote on the ordinance before the end of this year. He also called for a one-year grace period, during which no enforcement would occur, to allow eating establishments to become informed about the law.

During that period, the city would rely on business groups to translate information on the new law into other languages, city officials said.

The committee had been weighing a plan to allow larger restaurants to create special outdoor smoking areas. But after hearing objections from a representative of Councilman Greig Smith, that provision was removed.

-- David Zahniser at L.A. City Hall

Photo: L.A. Times file

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