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Plaza Adopts Smoking Moratorium

An eight-month moratorium on conditional use permits for on-site smoking businesses in the Village of Great Neck Plaza has been adopted. Plaza Mayor Jean Celender and the board of trustees approved the local law to call for the moratorium to enable them to take the time to do an analysis of businesses in the downtown area. Having applied to the Nassau County Planning Commission, the village was informed that the decision to adopt the moratorium would be “left to local determination.”

The law states that the village found that many studies “documented the harm that is caused by smoking tobacco products” and that there are “other smoking activities which appear to be comparably harmful yet which may be insufficiently regulated.” The moratorium cites that hookah smoking “appears” to be associated with medical conditions, suggesting that “cigarette smoking and hookah smoking have similar effects …”

The moratorium law also reports that the American Cancer Society has stated that “water pipes (hookah) smoking is just as risky as smoking cigarettes,” and that the World Health Organization “determined” that smoke from water pipes contains numerous  “toxicants” that are known to cause many diseases, such as lung cancer and heart disease.

With this moratorium, Plaza officials are seeking to serve the public “health, safety and welfare” by establishing this temporary moratorium on issuing permits and/or approvals by the village to businesses that “derive any portion of their revenue from on-site smoking activities” that are defined in the moratorium. And the moratorium states that pretty much all types of smoking or smoking-related products are included.

In first proposing the law, Celender had said the board needed the time to analyze the entire smoking and smoking related possibilities and they needed to look at surrounding businesses and determine impacts if smoking and smoking-related businesses of any kind were permitted. The village, along with neighboring villages with business districts, are now seeking to revitalize Great Neck business areas and so Celender had told the Great Neck Record that to assure that only businesses that benefit these areas are permitted.

Celender is also concerned regarding impacts on young people if smoking related businesses are permitted.

The Village of Great Neck just recently proposed a similar moratorium, following the uproar over a coming hookah parlor and fears concerning health issues. The hookah lounge in the Old Village has since withdrawn its plan for outdoor smoking and that village’s proposed moratorium is still pending with the Nassau County Planning Commission.

To this end, Celender also told the Record that her village is working with Old Village officials, as both villages “want a comprehensive review” of the issue and both are seeking to “determine what avenue to follow.”