Great Neck considers longer moratorium on businesses that allow smoking

Great Neck may extend a moratorium on permits Great Neck may extend a moratorium on permits for businesses that allow smoking. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Great Neck officials are considering a three-month extension to a village moratorium on permits for businesses that allow smoking on-site.

An eight-month ban that was passed last year expires on July 31. The extension, if approved at a board meeting this month, would last until Oct. 31.

Mayor Ralph Kreitzman said village officials are considering whether they should prohibit businesses that permit on-site smoking. A hookah bar proposed last year drew concern among community members, but village officials approved the business, saying a hookah bar was not a prohibited use.

The original moratorium says the board of trustees "should study . . . whether permitting such uses, even conditionally, in fact promotes the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community and should continue to be permitted."

No official study will be commissioned, Kreitzman said. Officials are collecting and examining previously published information, he said. He added the board has not decided if it will propose such a ban.

"The decision will be if we preclude any further hookah bars or cigar bars," said Kreitzman. "We didn't want one to come up in the interim, so by having a moratorium, applicants have to abide by the final decision."

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Great Neck is among a number of municipalities to seek or study bans on businesses that permit smoking on the premises. Glen Cove officials are seeking to make hookah lounges a prohibited commercial use in the city.

The Village of Great Neck Plaza in November adopted a moratorium on issuing permits or approvals to a business if revenue is derived from on-site smoking. It is considering extending it through May 31, 2015, at a board meeting later this month.

Kreitzman said the proposed law is "not inconsistent" with a 2011 village law that banned smoking on certain public sidewalks and other areas.

"We're not telling people you can't do it in your homes; we don't think it's appropriate to do it in our business district," Kreitzman said.

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