layton may limit smoke-shop sites

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 12:51 PM

Antone Clark

LAYTON -- New guidelines for smoke shops and hookah stores will limit the specialty tobacco stores to two select areas in the city.

City leaders outlined the proposed guidelines for the tobacco-related businesses during a work session on Thursday. The rules, in essence, put up a yellow light for the stores within the community, allowing their use but only in targeted areas.

Forwarded by the Planning Commission, the guidelines are expected to limit the stores to conditional uses within C-H zones (commercial-highway) in the city. City leaders have outlined two possible districts where the stores could locate. One is west of Main Street near Walmart and the other is in the old Albertson's complex area, near Kmart on the north side of the city.

A public hearing on the guidelines will be part of the council's May 17 meeting and city leaders are expected to vote on a new zoning ordinance amendment for the tobacco stores the same evening. Not so coincidentally, a city moratorium on smoke shops enacted on Nov. 17, 2011, expires the same day.

The changes come on the heels of action taken this year in the Legislature to give communities the ability to issue a business license for a retail tobacco specialty business with restrictions on the location of the business and the sale of tobacco paraphernalia.

The bill, HB95, goes into effect on July 1. It was sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton.

There are currently two smoke shops within the city.The future of both of those stores could be in question as well, as both face a business license review at the city level on May 16, according to City Attorney Gary Crane.

Before city leaders imposed the moratorium there were five specialty tobacco stores in the city, according to Bill Wright, community and economic development director.

Wright said staff applied state guidelines for distance from public locations in coming to the two possible C-H zones for the stores under the new regulations. The state guidelines require a distance of at least 1,000 feet for the specialty business from a community location, which is defined as a school, church, library or park.

"It's fair to say it's fairly restrictive," Wright said of possible locations for the stores in Layton.

Still, he said the guidelines will not put a cap on the number of business licenses the city may issue for tobacco stores.

At least one council member thinks the proposed guidelines hit the crux of what city leaders want in place.

"It seems to me you have captured the ability to be restrictive, but to have the ability to have the services in a limited area, as long as they meet the requirements," Councilman Michael Bouwhuis said of the proposed guidelines.

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