The Turlock Parks, Art and Recreation Commission (PARC) met Wednesday to recap on a variety of City events as well as give an update on the controversial proposed ban on smoking in all City parks.
Erik Schulze, Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Supervisor, stated in his staff update that research was conducted regarding the previously proposed smoking ban.
There were questions regarding signage indicating a cigarette smoking ban at the Turlock Sports Complex, but not at any other City parks; the question was raised as to why that park was different from others.
Through staff research, uncovered was a previous Council’s resolution from 2003, which imposed a ban on smoking in all parks and parking lots, including the Sports Complex. For whatever reason, after the Council took action on the item, there were never any signs posted or enforcement, beside those at the Turlock Sports Complex, or enforcement of the ban.
Previously, the 2003 ban discussed was not an individual and specific smoking ban resolution, but an item included in an array of other resolutions. To be clear, the previous ban did not come through PARC or the current Council, but rather the old Parks committee and previous Council from 2003.
The issue was raised that the previous ban on cigarette smoking in all City parks and parking lots did not include new technologies like e-cigarettes or the usage of other tobacco products besides cigarettes.
Originally, PARC had planned to vote on an action at Wednesday meeting, but it was rescheduled. The original discussion began at the August PARC meeting, when Girl Scouts Troop 3289, of Turlock, requested smoking to be banned in all Turlock parks and continued at the September meeting.
The proposed ban will be introduced as an action item for PARC to discuss, along with a full staff report at the Nov. 12 meeting, to allow PARC to make a recommendation to City Council, on the ban that on the books, technically stands as enforceable according to the City Attorney.
According to Schulze, due diligence and public process is necessary regarding the matter to ensure transparency to the community.