Police: City Council Adopts New Smoking Lounge Ordinance
On Monday, November 18, 2013, the Auburn Hills City Council amended a local ordinance with new language requiring a licensing process for smoking lounges and repealing language that dealt with mechanical amusement devices.
The Council repealed Article III of Chapter 10 of the City Code, “Mechanical Amusement Devices, Pool Tables and Entertainments.” This ordinance created a licensing process for businesses, open to the public, who wanted to have pool tables, claw machines, video games, etc. The businesses were required to pay a fee and undergo inspections by our fire, police and building departments. This language was repealed from the ordinance and businesses are no longer required to have a license for each machine in their establishment.
New language was adopted in the ordinance that regulates smoking lounges in the city. (2013 Smoking Lounge Ordinance) On August 5, 2013 City Council voted to place a moratorium on the opening of new smoking lounge businesses in the City for 180 days while staff studied the issue. Ultimately a recommendation was made that the City license the smoking lounges. We proposed an annual license with a fee to be determined, which would allow the City better management of these businesses.
Since the State of Michigan enacted Public Act 188 of 2009 to prohibit smoking in public places, smoking lounges have become increasingly popular. Cigar Bars and Tobacco Specialty Retail Stores that qualify and were in existence on May 1, 2010, are exempt from the smoking in public prohibition. Before the moratorium licenses could be transferred into the City at any time without limit from anywhere in the state.
Adverse impacts associated with these establishments have been identified such as large numbers of patrons during the evening and night-time, crowds overflowing into parking areas and impeding on nearby businesses, leaving behind trash, broken alcohol bottles and debris, incidents requiring police response, fights, alcohol possession on unlicensed premises, traffic, noise, and complaints from neighboring businesses and residents. The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate smoking lounges for the public health, safety, and welfare of the City.
The ordinance is designed to establish reasonable and uniform regulations to prevent potential adverse impacts. These regulations include:
- Licensing process for businesses and licenses cannot be transferred without applying for a new license with the city.
- Must be closed between 12:00 am and 8:00 am.
- Local business agent must be on site at all times and must be 21 years old.
- Must allow access into establishment for inspections.
- Prohibited activities include; minors on the premises, alcoholic beverages, nudity, controlled substances, noise disturbances, etc.
- Building must be equipped with mechanical ventilation system.
Currently there are 2 smoking lounges with one in development. The lounges currently operating have 180 days to apply for licensing, but the closing time will apply to them immediately upon written notice.
Lieutenant Ryan Gagnon
Public Information Officer