LAYTON -- New guidelines have been implemented here for smoke shops and hookah stores.
The specialty tobacco shops will be confined to two very select areas under new rules approved by the city council. The guidelines limit the stores to conditional uses within commercial-highway zones. In conjunction with the new zoning, city leaders also approved a business license ordinance amendment dealing with the specialty stores.
Given new state guidelines on distance requirements from community locations, any new store in the community would be located in an area near Walmart. The other area where they could potentially be located would be near the old Albertson's complex, near Kmart on the north side of the city.
The guidelines stipulate distance requirements for stores from community places -- defined as schools, libraries, churches, daycare centers, and parks, among others -- and prohibit the stores from being located too close together.
There are currently two smoke shops in Layton, one within the new zoning area and the other outside that area. Provided those companies can maintain their business licenses, they would be allowed to continue operating in their present location under a grandfather clause.
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.
Bill Wright, director of community and economic development, said it is fair to describe the new regulations as fairly restrictive. Still, he maintains the guidelines will not put a cap on the number of business licenses that may be issued for tobacco stores.
In a public hearing on the new guidelines, Carol Lloyd wondered why city leaders were implementing new guidelines that make it tougher on the businesses.
"Not all the stores just sell tobacco or other novelty. I don't understand that you will limit them even more than it's already limited to and the jobs it's creating. We need every job we can get," Lloyd said.
City Planner Peter Madson said it was important to address the business licensing side of the issue as well as the zoning ordinance.
"I need to be clear we're not using zoning to regulate business licenses," Madson said.