The Town of Fort Mill is moving forward with plans for a smoking ban, following the lead of Rock Hill and York County.
Fort Mill Town Council on Monday approved a first reading of the town’s smoking ordinance. But not without raising questions over how it would affect private clubs.
“We say we’re banning smoking in places of employment,” Councilman Tom Adams said. “Private clubs can also be places of employment. What do you call a private club? A private club or a place of employment?”
Under Fort Mill’s ordinance, private clubs would not be regulated by the newly proposed law, Town Manager David Hudspeth said.
Not everyone was happy with that decision.
Brynne Fisher of York County’s All on Board asked the council to consider an ordinance that does not have exceptions. Rock Hill and York County's smoking bans do not have exemptions for private clubs.
“Please do not let the town of Fort Mill became the weak link in York County,” said Fisher, a resident of Fort Mill. “My fear is that if you enact an ordinance that permits exemptions, then the town of Fort Mill will become a smoky, hazy, unhealthy bull’s eye.”
While the council ultimately voted unanimously to pass the smoking ordinance as written, some members are unsure if they want to keep the private club exemption in place.
“I’m undecided,” Councilman Kerry Mosher said about the private club exemption. “I don’t know where I’m going to go with this issue. I’m on the fence.”
Some council members wanted to get input from private clubs with employees.
“We’re allowing smoking in places with employees, and these private clubs have employees,” Adams said. “Which takes precedence?
Still, Huntley favored the exceptions.
“As much as I hate smoking, if we have a bunch of people who want to smoke in a private club, we ought to be broad-minded enough to let them get together and smoke,” he said.
The Fort Mill Town Council will meet Saturday to discuss the private club exceptions. The ban needs one more reading to become law.