Signal Hill considers banning smoking in multi-family dwellings

Signal Hill City Council will prepare a community workshop and survey calling on residents to voice their concerns about a possible smoking ban in multi-family dwellings.

On Tuesday, May 24, City Manager Hannah Shin-Heydorn asked staff to schedule two workshops, one in the summer and one in September with bilingual options.

The move came in response to community health advocates who proposed council draft a smoking ban on future multi-family developments at a previous meeting.

City Attorney Matthew Richardson reported on his findings regarding legal and policy issues related to regulating smoking in multifamily properties, including the options available to council.

Richardson explained that the City has the ability to enact legislation that would ban smoking in multi-family rental properties.

“The long and the short of it is that even though we don’t have a law directly on point, it’s very clear that we can regulate smoking in this way,” Richardson said.

Depending on the city’s broad discretion, regulation of smoking in multifamily properties ranges from complete smoking bans to more “targeted” restrictions, Richardson said.

These options include: banning smoking in approved multi-family developments after a smoking ban comes into effect; no smoking in new multi-unit developments, designated areas around the complex for smokers and non-smokers; and the relaxation of smoking restrictions through new rental agreements over time.

Richardson said the city has “creative” reign over how it wants to enforce code provisions, while keeping mechanisms in place like fines ranging from $100 to $500.

“We take this seriously,” Vice Mayor Tina Hansen said.

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